September 19, 2013

The National Aeronautic Association (NAA), together with the Air Care Alliance, will present its 2013 Public Benefit Flying Teamwork Award to ORBIS International and FedEx to honor their 30-year partnership to fight blindness around the world.

ORBIS and FedEx were nominated for the award by NBAA, which last year presented its Al Ueltshi Humanitarian Award to FedEx Express, a division of FedEx Corp., and its founder, Frederick W. Smith, for sponsorship of the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital.

“ORBIS and FedEx are highly deserving of this prestigious award,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “We are so proud of the work they do to get healthcare professionals and training to where it is most needed, and that’s why we were honored to nominate them for the Public Benefit Flying Teamwork Award.”

Since 1982, when FedEx began sponsoring the organization, ORBIS has provided training to health professionals and optical treatments to more than 23 million adults and children in developing countries around the world with the help of the Flying Eye Hospital. A specifically designed DC-10, this fully equipped mobile teaching hospital is fitted with an operating room, laser treatment unit, recovery room and a 48-seat classroom that allows local eye care professionals to watch live surgeries broadcast from the operating theater.

“ORBIS and FedEx have created a long-standing relationship using aviation to help prevent blindness around the world. That is a perfect definition of public benefit flying,” said NAA President and CEO Jonathan Gaffney.

NAA will present the award to ORBIS at the association’s Fall Awards Banquet on Nov. 12 in Arlington, VA.

“We are honored to receive this award from the National Aeronautic Association, and we hope this will bring more attention to our continued mission to eliminate avoidable blindness in developing countries,” said ORBIS President and CEO Jenny Hourihan. “We could not accomplish our work without the invaluable partnerships of our aviation sponsor FedEx, and the eye care professionals who donate their time and efforts to our mission.”

FedEx is the sole aviation sponsor of ORBIS’s global program, and in 2011, it renewed a multi-million dollar donation to ORBIS over five years. FedEx has also donated an MD-10 aircraft that will be converted into the next generation Flying Eye Hospital.

“FedEx is proud of its long relationship with ORBIS and its work bringing sight to so many people worldwide,” said James R. Parker, executive vice president, FedEx Express Air Operations. “We are honored to be a co-recipient of this special award, and for what it represents to all the people in our company who contribute their time, energy and resources in support of the ORBIS mission.”

The NAA and Air Care Alliance began their Public Benefit Flying awards program in 2003 to recognize the work of volunteers in the industry. To date, 53 organizations and individuals have received the honor.