Hope Air, a nation-wide charity providing free air travel and accommodations to Canadians who must access medical care far from home, named its 2020 Spirit of Hope Awards recipients, focusing on volunteers and partners support the program.
Since its inception in 1986, Hope Air has provided more than 150,000 travel arrangements for patients inclusive of all ages and medical needs. The organization notes, for people living on a low income in small and rural communities, distance and cost are significant barriers to accessing vital medical care – even in a system designed to provide universal healthcare coverage.
“From the very beginning, through to today, Hope Air is driven by the spirit and generosity of volunteers,” said Mark Rubinstein, Chief Executive Officer, Hope Air.
The 2020 Spirit of Hope Award recipients, as described by Hope Air, include:
CAA Club Group for Outstanding Leadership and Philanthropy – CAA Club Group has been a longtime supporter of Hope Air and has assisted in providing approximately 3,475 flights to patients in need. It has been instrumental in spreading awareness of Hope Air through magazine features and encouraging employees and sponsors to donate to Hope Air in lieu of its annual charity golf tournament that was postponed due to the pandemic.
R. Howard Webster Foundation for Outstanding Philanthropy – The R. Howard Webster Foundation has been supporting Hope Air for 33 years. Its grants helped Hope Air increase capacity by making significant technological upgrades in the past year. The foundation also provided an emergency grant that helped Hope Air continue to deliver critical flights during the pandemic.
Floyd Hill for Distinguished Volunteer Pilot of the Year – Floyd Hill is one of Hope Air’s veteran pilots and he goes above and beyond for patients in British Columbia. He makes patients and medical escorts feel relaxed with his attention to care and treatment. Floyd also generously matched all donations made online on Giving Tuesday in 2020.
Maria and Burt Hodgins for Distinguished Volunteers of the Year – These Hanover Flying Club members engaged flying groups and recruited other pilots to help with fundraising this past summer in support of Hope Air. They participated in the Give Hope Wings: The Sault to Saguenay Expedition in 2020 and hosted a fly-in fundraising barbeque in their airport hangar to raise vital funds. Burt also continues to fly patients as a Hope Air volunteer pilot.