Good Morning, Team, I sincerely trust that all have enjoyed a wonderful 2019 thus far. Now I understand many may be thinking seems painfully early when we are suffering through Heat Advisories, although what better time to start planning for more comfortable temps will be chilling off within a couple months. And we do want to be ready for the Navajo Christmas Airlift coming in November.
This feels different this year, and more appreciate what the Airlift means and the difference you make. I can attest, and a number of you have been integral, the Airlift has been much more on the mind through the past several months. I really, really want to thank you all for what you have meant to the success of the Airlift over the years, and ideally you might join again in a couple months. I believe that all understand that my Dad and Mom had started the Christmas Airlift 35 years ago, with eight planes participating, based on a group of community service oriented pilots. It is now that same spirit in Pilots and Donors from across Arizona that simply want to help that has grown to where we are have surpassed some 40 aircraft.
We have also been fortunate over the course of the past several years to have had the partnership of Thoreau Navajo Outreach (TNO). Felma, Clara, and their team are wonderful, faith led people who have a special mission of service for their Navajo family. I have been blessed to hear from personal experiences of our own team of TNO’s service and efforts that extend well beyond the Airlift. That said, our growth is of itself quite demanding with some 5 tons of donations delivered last year. Through this challenge has spawned what I believe is exceptional news. I am personally thrilled that TNO will remain involved in the Airlift, although in a continued evolution we are introducing an additional partner with Southwest Indian Foundation that will jointly work with TNO to distribute the donations to the Navajo family. Southwest Indian Foundation (SWIF) is regarded as a larger organization, and I understand they will be looking at TNO to provide guidance and support. The intent would be for the two operations to randomly share the donations from the Airlift. I absolutely consider the proposed joint effort to be a Win – Win – Win, a Win in having Thoreau Navajo Outreach continue in their ongoing participation and to their benefit not being solely responsible, a Win in introducing Southwest Indian Foundation to the effort, and a Win for the Airlift in the ability to continue the Airlift with valuable partners serving the Navajo Nation.
For so many of us, the Airlift is that very special intro to the Holiday season and a wonderful representation through the hundreds of pilots and donors that the Navajo Airlift has touched so many hearts. We have the formal date targeted for the 2019 35th Navajo Airlift in coordinating with recognized November activities as well as validation with the Thoreau Navajo Outreach. The planning is for Saturday, November 9th (the second Saturday of November), into Gallup, NM (KGUP). This November date will be upon us in only another three months. I would thank our team for their thoughtful input after last year’s event, as we always strive to improve. Will share more over the course of our preparations, as we want to assure we are continuing to make this a successful, safe and enjoyable event for all.
If you are available and interested in participating in this year’s airlift, please let us know so that we can start planning on the roster as we all start managing for our donations. In the event you may have a conflict for this year, please feel free to let me know and I can kindly remove from the distro. As always, we are continuing to reach out to add to other pilots to attempt to increase the benefit we can provide for the Navajo Nation. If you might know of others that would like to participate, please do ask them to reach out to me.
We are fortunate this annual Airlift has touched the hearts of so many pilots and donors from across the state. So, while has been a more hectic Airlift Summer than typical, I trust the right seeds are progressing well for the 2019 event and beyond. A very big and sincere Thank You for all your support and guidance, Tail Winds and Bluest Skies,