Last year I shared the experience Ben Flesher and I had when we attended Wounded Warrior Project’s VIPS Day at their headquarters in Jacksonville, FL. This was still one of the best adventures I have had at AMA. We got to learn so much and we both left knowing that our clubs had made a huge difference for veterans. While we were in one of the training sessions, we learned about WWP’s alumni programs. These are the activities they provide to veterans signed up for services the organization provides. They talked about how the veterans were given opportunities to learn new things, meet new friends, set new goals, etc. When we heard about it, I knew model flying would be the perfect activity for the veterans to learn about.
It took some time, but eventually we were put in contact with Emily Gray, who helped us from start to finish to host our first Warrior Day at AMA. Our team welcomed a total of 35 people out to the International Aeromodeling Center to learn as much about model flying as possible in one day. The day started with introductions, including a welcome from Dennis Tyler, the mayor of Muncie, Dave Mathewson, AMA’s executive director, and Tim Jesky, AMA district VII vice president. We split the group up into three smaller groups and assigned a group leader for each. The groups then visited the following stations:
1: Flight simulator and buddy boxing
2: National Model Aviation Museum and hands-on activities
3: FPV racing/demonstrations with Ready Made RC.
Most of the success for the day should be accredited to the great folks with the Blacksheep RC Squadron in Danville, Indiana. They came to Muncie for the entire day and really impressed our staff and each person that attended the event. With their help we put on a model airshow and everyone got to try to fly. I would like to personally thank each person that volunteered, and give special credit to Rege Hall for supporting our team by finding the volunteers and the airshow pilots.
Another person who deserves a lot of credit is Deven Schei. I met Deven for the first time at the VIPS event last year. Since then, he has attended other AMA events on behalf of WWP. He’s a great speaker, a great friend to AMA, and was a great influence in introducing AMA to the decision makers at WWP.
We would also like to recognize the following individuals and companies for their support:
Mayor Dennis Tyler, Muncie Fire Department, Lifestream Services Inc., The Haven, Museum of the Soldier, Papa Johns, Pepsi Beverages Co., Readymade RC,
Pilots Greg Alderman, Bill Gentry, Parker Hall, Rege E. Hall, Spencer Stevens, Steven Woods, and all volunteers that helped us with buddy boxing.
And thank you again to the great Platinum Sponsors of this year’s National Model Aviation Day celebration who assisted us with this partnership: Ready Made RC, Hobbico, Horizon Hobby, and Hobby King
Thank you to everyone that participated in this day of giving back to those who served our country!
Director of Development, AMA Foundation