A Good Time For Doing Good

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Whatever your persuasion regarding the holiday season, one universally agreed-on aspect is that it’s a good time for doing good. It’s the end of the year, maybe you got a bonus or have a little cash left over after paying all the bills, and some spirit from Dickens or elsewhere is whispering in your ear that it would warm your heart to share a little, of your time or money or skills, or all three.

In aviation, we have our own special ways of contributing to the common welfare. One winter day a few years ago, I got a call from some guy in Idaho, who was looking for a way to help stranded sea turtles on Cape Cod that needed transport to a warmer place. Leslie Weinstein was an AVweb reader, and finding that I lived near the Cape, hoped maybe I could pull some local strings. My aviator friends and I did what we could, but the governor couldn’t be persuaded that we needed the Coast Guard planes to help out the turtles. It would have been a quick and easy solution (and great PR), but when it didn’t pan out, Weinstein kept at it and recruited GA pilots. It meant smaller batches, and more flights, and daunting logistics, but he got it done. Now, going on five years later, Weinstein has made it work year after year, and Turtles Fly Too is even expanding to help save the whales.

Other aviators, from corporate operators to private pilots, pitch in all year long. You can find a number of nonprofits online that will help you provide free transport for sick patients and their families. You can fly new Young Eagles, via EAA’s ongoing project; help protect the environment with groups like Lighthawk; or work to keep backcountry air strips well supported, with groups like the Recreational Aviation Foundation. Pilots and Paws helps homeless pets escape their shelters to settle in with new families far away, and the Air Care Alliance acts as a referral service for more than 60 nonprofits. Whatever your skills, whatever kind of airplane you fly, however much time or money you can contribute, whatever your particular passion, there’s someone out there who can make use of you.

And what’s in it for you? “His own heart laughed,” Dickens said of the redeemed Scrooge, at the end of his story. “And that was quite enough for him.”