Lee Arsenault, a COPA member, has been recognized by the national charity Hope Air with their Distinguished Volunteer Pilot of the Year Award for 2019. Based in Pickering, Ontario and a Hope Air volunteer pilot since 2016, M. Arsenault, along with his wife Marilyn, has flown 20 flights in his Diamond DA-40, bringing rural residents to the care they need in only available in bigger metropolitan centres.

“Lee and his wife Marilyn go above and beyond to ensure patients are comfortable,” said a statement released by Hope Air.

In the same statement, Hope Air announced that COPA member and Hope Air board member Anna Pangrazzi is retiring after serving as a director since being elected in 2015.

Hope Air raises funds that are used to help defray some of the direct costs of volunteer pilots as well as to purchase seats on commercial air carriers so that financially challenged patients and their escort can get to needed medical appointments far away.

One of Hope Air’s major fundraising events in recent years has also seen COPA members as active participants. The Give Hope Wings (GHW) initiative, begun by COPA members Dave McElroy, Russ Airey and Harold Fast with a flight circumnavigating South America in 2018, raised over $520,000 for Hope Air. Last year saw McElroy, Ian Porter and Steve Drinkwater, together with major sponsor Lise Ash, all COPA members, leading the GHW Northern Expedition from Metro Vancouver north to the Arctic Ocean and then west to points in Alaska, raising over $250,000 in the process.

Top photo: From left, Lee Arsenault, his wife Marilyn and Hope Air CEO Doug Keller-Hobson. Photo source: Facebook