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Young Eagles Honors Phenomenal Volunteers
By Collin Brault
July 25, 2019 - Across the country, more than 50,000 pilots have volunteered their time to change the lives of 2.1 million Young Eagles, giving kids their very first flight experience. Each year EAA takes time to recognize three distinct award recipients that have gone above and beyond to contribute to the Young Eagles mission.
Phillips 66 Aviation EAA Young Eagles Leadership Award
The 2019 Phillips 66 Aviation EAA Young Eagles Leadership Award is presented to Bob Epting of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Though Bob is proud of the large number of kids he's flown, he says the volume isn't what it's about for him.
"It's less about the numbers and more about the contact and connection you make with the kids," Bob said. "It's incredible watching kids fly the plane themselves, watching them do something that they or their parents had no clue they could even do."
Horizon Award Winner
This year's Young Eagles Horizon Award goes to Lightspeed Aviation and company president Allan Schrader. Lightspeed Aviation has been involved with EAA for the past decade.
The Lightspeed Foundation launched in 2010 with the goal to give back to the aviation community while also looking to expand it. Lightspeed and the Lightspeed Foundation started their partnership with the Young Eagles by giving free headsets to students in training to receive their pilot certificate, in order to help encourage them along the way. Recently, Lightspeed has shifted gears, providing free top-of-the-line Zulu 3 headsets to certified pilots who fly Young Eagles and to 90 Ray scholars after they finish their solo and ground school training.
"Our core mission for the foundation is to grow aviation," Allan said. "We want to partner with organizations that will put their muscle into growing aviation, and we are proud to be working with both the Young Eagles and the Ray Aviation Scholarship."
Young Eagles Chapter Coordinator Award
Each year, one Young Eagles chapter coordinator who goes above and beyond is honored for their contributions to the program. The 2019 Young Eagles Chapter Coordinator Award winner is Joyce Stoyka. Joyce is a Young Eagles coordinator who consistently tries to improve the program and works tirelessly to ensure the Young Eagles and the volunteers have a great experience during each and every flight.
Joyce is from Chapter 63 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Joyce not only volunteers at her chapter, but also has been a longtime volunteer here at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh and has been involved with the new Young Eagles online registration system.