The 98-city, 38-day America’s Operation Thank You: Relay in the Sky, which honored healthcare workers across the country, wrapped up Oct. 30 at Signature Flight Support at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).
NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen was among those on hand to greet the arrival of the torch and participate in the closing ceremony of the Spirit of Liberty Foundation’s relay, which began in San Diego, CA and was billed as a way to recognize the medical personnel on the front lines during the pandemic.
The final leg of the 48-state tour was flown by Barry Goldberg, of Maryland-based OpenAir, and his passenger and torch bearer Skip Helmly, a San Diego State University senior and executive of program communications for Spirit of Liberty Foundation.
“Hopefully this lifts everyone’s spirits and gives them a lot of fighting energy,” said Helmly who touched down at DCA under cloudy skies in a Cirrus SR-22.
Goldberg added, “I’m truly honored to be doing this today. It really means an awful lot to me personally to be doing this final leg for the Foundation.”
NBAA Director of Airports and Ground Infrastructure Alex Gertsen, who recently flew the torch from Cleveland, OH to Buffalo, NY, noted, “General aviation aircraft brought this torch all the way from California to Washington, DC, while being handed off from pilot to pilot. One of the amazing things that this relay has accomplished is to bring healthcare workers and general aviation together.”