VOLUNTEERISM PROPELS YOUTH
EVERY YEAR AT EAA AIRVENTURE, Ruth Darr and Donna
Ruth Darr and Donna Shackleton, EAA Annual Raffle Chairwomen
Shackleton have one goal: to sell as many EAA Annual Raffle
tickets as possible, with the help of their volunteer force of
more than 75 dedicated EAA members and supporters.
Chairwomen Darr and Shackleton have facilitated the
raffle for more than 15 years. Their long-term commitment
stems from their love for aviation and knowing that all
proceeds impact EAA’s future. Raffle donations directly
support EAA’s Young Eagles and other youth programs.
Entrants have the chance to win a new Ford Mustang or one
of five other cash prizes.
Shackleton, who volunteers for her chapter’s Young
Eagles activities in Aurora, Illinois, believes programs like
Young Eagles are critical to building interest in aviation for
generations to come. “My husband is a volunteer Young
Eagles pilot, and he loves to take kids up for the first time,”
she said. “When you see on the kids’ faces how excited they
are, it’s the best feeling.”
Since the raffle’s beginning, EAA volunteers have raised
more than $1.8 million to benefit EAA’s youth programs.
In addition to the prize incentives, Darr and Shackleton
believe individuals enter the raffle as a way to help EAA
and contribute to its future. “EAA members who buy
raffle tickets understand that Young Eagles is a great
program to gets kids interested in flying,” Darr said. “That’s
something we need to do, because as members age, we need
younger ones to continue supporting EAA and keep the
SOMETIMES, WE OVERLOOK THE most incredible
stories of commitment and dedication because they
seem to happen in an effortless manner. Year after
year, teams of volunteers return to Oshkosh, picking
up responsibilities that are critical to EAA’s success.
More often than not, the full scope of their work is
not understood. For more than 15 years, Ruth Darr and Donna Shackleton
(and Donna’s husband, Alan) have worked from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. selling
raffle tickets to AirVenture attendees. They shared the Young Eagles vision
and impact and helped many people understand how their purchase of a
raffle ticket makes a difference in someone’s life. The impact of their group’s
work has been huge, yet mostly unknown.
The same holds true for the Ford Motor Company. The depth of its
participation and support goes beyond what most members or AirVenture
attendees see. As Kevin shared, Ford’s focus always has been to give back
to members, to support EAA’s mission, and to impact outcomes of the
Young Eagles program.
Ford is immersed in EAA’s culture and mission. From the Fly-In Movie
theater to the fun, interactive components of its exhibit, the member
benefit program, the concert on opening day, and the ice cream truck that
frequented member, chapter, and camper events, each activity has grown
out of a corporate culture vested in supporting the mission and vision of
EAA and our members. It is a phenomenal partnership that is part of the
fabric of AirVenture. It is good to step back and realize the depth of support
individuals and corporations have made to EAA.
COMMITMENT FUELS THE FUTURE
Kevin Keling, Corporate Events Manager for Ford
A STRONG FUTURE FOR EAA begins with solid
partnerships today. Ford Motor Company is one of
those partners, growing its involvement with the
organization since 1999.
“We’ve really expanded our efforts with EAA,
trying to make the experience better for members,”
said Kevin Keling, Ford corporate events manager. “It’s
not about getting Ford’s name and brand everywhere,
but about increasing the value for EAA members.”
According to Keling, Ford plans on boosting its
involvement with EAA over time. The company’s
focus on sustainability, safety, quality, technology, and
innovation has continued to fit well with EAA’s vision
for the future.