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EAA Presents Top Awards
By Barbara A. Schmitz
July 27, 2016 - EAA’s top award was given to the former senior leader of Jeppesen and Boeing during the organization’s annual meeting yesterday.
Jack J. Pelton, EAA CEO and chairman of the board, presented the Freedom of Flight Award to Mark Van Tine. The Freedom of Flight Award is bestowed annually to an individual whose contributions to aviation closely mirror the integrity, entrepreneurship, and innovativeness of EAA members.
Pelton said Van Tine received the award for his impressive aviation career and what he has given back to aviation. Van Tine is a former EAA board member, and is committed to bringing aviation to future generations, Pelton said. He and eight students built a Glasair Sportsman, and he is committed supporter of Young Eagles, Build A Plane, and Challenge Air for Kids. “His aviation life and enthusiasm is focused on getting people involved in aviation and being passionate about it,” Pelton said. “That, more than anything, makes him an outstanding recipient for the Freedom of Flight Award.”
In addition, Pelton presented the Chairman’s Award to Kermit Weeks. The award personally acknowledges a member whose participation and contributions represent the “essence” of EAA.
Weeks began building airplanes in high school, and began competing in aerobatics at 20. By 24, he earned a place on the U.S. aerobatic team. In the 1970s, Weeks developed an interest in acquiring and restoring vintage aircraft. That interest grew into Weeks Air Museum and later the Fantasy of Flight complex in Florida.
At the same time, he became an enthusiastic member and supporter of EAA. EAA’s maintenance facility bears his name thanks to his generosity, Pelton said. Weeks also served as a longtime member of EAA’s board of directors, and was inducted into the Warbirds Hall of Fame in 2005. In addition, he was part of the flight crew that brought that Martin Mars to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016.
In other business, Pelton said that EAA’s membership is 198,724, and that the organization focused on financial stability and re-establishing its culture in the last year by expanding its programs and advocacy efforts. In addition, volunteer hours for the last fiscal year topped 274,000, excluding Young Eagles and chapter hours, valued at just over $6 million.
Seven members were also voted to EAA’s board of directors. They include Stuart Auerbach, James Clark, Alan Klapmeier, Phil Martineau, Jim Phillips, Paul Schafer, and Cody Welch.