Be a Part of the Special Olympics Airlift
The reward of helping these athletes is worth every nautical mile
by Rhonda Fullerton
Director, Citation Special Olympics Airlift
Cessna Aircraft Company will be returning for the seventh Citation Special Olympics Airlift, which will take place June 14 and June 21, 2014 in Trenton, NJ. We are looking for volunteers once again to touch the lives of athletes from across the country, and we hope that you will be willing to donate your time, your Citation, and your generosity to help make this event possible once again.
There is no simpler way to put it. We need Citation owners and operators across the country to commit their Citation business jets, crews and fuel to the 2014 Citation Special Olympics Airlift this summer.
And we need you to register by February 28.
Delegation travel is the largest expense for state Special Olympics programs. Without Citations, Special Olympics Programs will have to shoulder the cost of travel, which can divert funds away from other areas that directly benefit athletes.
Whether it’s at a local, state, national or international level, there is never a cost to the athlete or their families for Special Olympics programming. Training, facilities, uniforms, transportation, meals and lodging are paid for by Special Olympics with the goal that no one is left on the sideline due to inability to pay.
While the Games are five months away, Cessna will need to let the athletes know on March 1 if we can help transport them to the Games in New Jersey. Here’s a look at how this process works, which will explain why we need your commitment now.
Special Olympics expects 3,500 athletes from across the country to participate in the 2014 USA Games. The athletes have already been selected and each state’s delegation size varies. Montana will have fewer than 20 athletes, for example, while Florida plans to send about 150 athletes.
States surrounding New Jersey do not qualify for the Airlift, but we welcome any Citations based in those states to provide transportation for other states. We can never have too many aircraft!
Special Olympics programs in the states that do qualify have an Airlift coordinator. Starting March 1, that coordinator will begin determining
how many Citations are available and how many passengers can be accommodated. The coordinator is responsible for figuring out which athletes will travel via Citation, the best departure cities based on where the athletes live and finding other modes of transportation for those we cannot accommodate. Planning alternate transportation and meeting their budget can be challenging and time-consuming so the coordinator has to start working on this as early as March.
It’s easy to see that YOU can make a huge difference in the success of the Airlift and personally impact the lives of these athletes. Please register today to donate your Citation, crew and fuel to transport athletes to and from Trenton-Mercer Airport June 14 and 21.
Please join us!