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Actor, Pilot Harrison Ford Accepts Humanitarian Honor at NBAA2013
October 22, 2013
Harrison Ford may be best known for his iconic portrayals of movie heroes such Han Solo and Indiana Jones, but it was his invaluable and often unsung work as a general aviation advocate and humanitarian pilot that were in the spotlight this morning at the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA2013) as Ford accepted NBAA's 2013 Al Ueltschi Award for Humanitarian Leadership.
"I am humbled – and not just a little embarrassed – by this award and this attention," said Ford, with obvious emotion, in a ceremony that capped the Opening General Session at NBAA2013. "I have done what I've been able to do, and upon receipt of this high honor I promise to redouble my efforts... to try to make myself available for more of the good missions that can provide service to people in need."
Ford regularly operates a variety of fixed-wing aircraft and rotorcraft in support of humanitarian efforts such as the Cessna Citation Special Olympics Airlift and Corporate Angel Network flights, as well as aerial search-and-rescue operations. In 2010, he joined with hundreds of other general aviation pilots participating in relief missions for victims of a devastating earthquake that struck Haiti, flying doctors and equipment to remote communities in his Cessna Caravan turboprop single.
In accepting NBAA's Al Ueltschi Award for Humanitarian Leadership, Ford noted the importance of calling attention to similar efforts by thousands of other general aviation pilots, including business aviation pilots. "The attention that could be paid to the good works... can only help to improve the understanding of the value of general aviation," he said.
Created in 2006, the Al Ueltschi Award for Humanitarian Leadership is named for the late Albert L. Ueltschi, in recognition for his lifetime of dedication to philanthropic causes, most notably in the development of international non-profit organization ORBIS dedicated to preventing blindness and saving sight.
Past recipients of this award include FedEx Express and its founder, Frederick W. Smith (2012); former U.S. Senate majority leader, surgeon and humanitarian pilot Bill Frist (2011); the donors and volunteers in the business aviation community who responded to the humanitarian crisis in Haiti (2010); the Civil Air Patrol (2009); Corporate Angel Network (2008); Veterans Airlift Command (2007); and Cessna Aircraft Company, in recognition of the Cessna Citation Special Olympics Airlift (2006).