Each year, the Colorado Aviation Business Association and the Colorado Department of the Veterans of Foreign Wars arrange for aircraft to collect tens of thousands of pounds of canned food and toys at Centennial Airport near Denver and distribute them to distant towns across the state where volunteers distribute them to veteran families in need. This year, Mile-Hi Skydiving Center in Longmont, Colorado, joined in the ninth annual Colorado Airlift by contributing a Twin Otter and two jump pilots, Brooks Dickerson and Dusty Rider, to the efforts.
Dickerson, 22, is a busy senior at Metropolitan State University of Denver when he’s not flying for the drop zone. He’s also a member of MSU’s aerobatic flight team. Dickerson first pitched the idea to DZO Frank Casares, who immediately got in touch with the local lead for CABA.
Although a snowstorm in the third week of December postponed the initial airlift, Mile-Hi showed up the following day. Dickerson and Rider ultimately airlifted 1,900 pounds of donations to families in the towns of Grand Junction, Montrose and Delta with the help of volunteers who sorted goods by city and weight. Mile-Hi’s contribution would not have been possible without the maintenance team, which reconfigured the seats to accommodate cargo; the chief pilot, who made sure that flight operations were safe and in accordance with company standards; and the Casares, who donated his time, fuel and pilots to help a worthwhile cause.
Overall, the annual veteran’s airlift was a success. Twenty-five aircraft flew 32 missions, delivering a total of 10,025 pounds of non-perishable foods and toys in support of 2,000 veterans and their families. Many of the donations included personal items for homeless veterans, who make-up nine percent of the state’s homeless population.
Danielle Williams | A-62584
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