Simply put, it just keeps getting bigger and better. Last month, Republic Airways’ annual Pulling for Wishes Plane Pull , held April 23 at the Indianapolis Maintenance Center, was a record-setting event on two fronts – 50 registered pull teams and more than $415,000 raised in donations and team fees to benefit the Indiana Children’s Wish Fund (ICWF). Since 2011, the Company has raised more than $1.4 million for the nonprofit group, which grants wishes like vacations and celebrity visits to seriously or terminally ill children.
With an average cost of $6,000 per wish, this year’s Plane Pull will help grant dozens of wishes for ICWF, organizers said.
“It was great day, and it just warms my heart to see Republic Associates pull together for such a fantastic event,” said Amy Chiappe, Director of Inflight and Republic’s lead organizer for the event. “The community support and our sponsors were tremendous – we couldn’t have done it without them.”
Defending champs LIDS Foundation, Inc. of Indianapolis took home the top prize of 10 roundtrip domestic airfare tickets from American Airlines with a finals pull time of 7.66 seconds. The opponent: a 40-ton American E175 aircraft. Last year, a LIDS team recorded a finals pull time of 6.59 seconds – a record that still stands. Prizes also were awarded for the most raffle tickets sold, best costume and team raising the most money.
The Plane Pull is dedicated to the memory of Tyler Frenzel, a Carmel, Ind., boy who suffered from leukemia and passed away in 2004. Tyler’s wish to visit Disney World was granted by ICWF.
Republic Airways CEO Bryan Bedford got in on the action and joined a ceremonial pull team featuring Indianapolis Colts linebacker Robert Mathis, Colts cheerleaders, local sports media reporters, and kids from the Indiana Children’s Wish Fund. Other celebrities on hand included Purdue University President Mitch Daniels, whose aviation program flew in two aircraft for display, and former All-Star pro baseball player Scott Rolen, a longtime supporter of ICWF. As the pull teams battled it out, the kids zone was buzzing with activity with a dizzying array of attractions, including a bounce house, arts and crafts, face-painting, bean-bag toss, balloon animals, stilt walkers and clowns.
An exclusive live auction dinner hosted by Robert Mathis added to the fundraising bottom line with bids for a Tito’s Vodka guitar, signed by Tito himself, luggage, jewelry, autographed memorabilia, wines and a golf package with Masters champion Fuzzy Zoeller.
Of course, an event of this magnitude wouldn’t be possible without the teamwork of countless employees and support from Republic’s Executive and Leadership teams.
“This reason this event is so successful – and why Republic is such a great company – is the generosity, drive for perfection and passion of our Associates,” Amy said.
Next year’s Plane Pull is tentatively scheduled for late April 2017. More about the event is at www.rjet.com.
Written by: Scott Thien
Republic Airways Corporate Communications