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Air Zoo announces Volunteer of the Year Award recipients

December 3, 2010

Source: Danielle Nicholl
Job Title: Public Relations & Marketing Manager
Phone: 269.350.2811

KALAMAZOO, Mich.-On Dec. 1 the Air Zoo honored volunteers Alan Wright, Larry Rolfe and Ryan Knapp with the Volunteer of the Year Award.

Wright and Rolfe received the award in the adult category, while Knapp took the honor in the youth category.

"All three volunteers exemplify the essence of volunteerism," said Tamra Stafford, Air Zoo volunteer and community resources manager. "Each has gone above and beyond to contribute their time and effort to the Air Zoo, and we are extremely appreciative of them."

Wright is the founder of Wright Coating in Kalamazoo and has been volunteering with the Air Zoo for more than 20 years. He started off as a volunteer pilot for the museum and then five years ago, he began offering Free Veteran Flights each summer. Since 2005 he has given more than 500 veterans free airplane rides at Newman's Field in Oshtemo.

Rolfe has been volunteering at the Air Zoo for 10 years. He began as a security guard and transitioned to a greeter in 2004. In addition to the Volunteer of the Year Award, he received a plaque honoring him for his service of more than 5,000 volunteer hours at the Air Zoo. A family from Chicago who often visits the Air Zoo and has become close friends with Rolfe also presented him with an American flag and official document, certifying that the flag was flown at Camp Vance in Afghanistan, on behalf of the U.S. Army.

Knapp has been volunteering at the Air Zoo for two years in the Restoration Center, restoring and maintaining aircraft. He is currently a senior at Portage Central High School.

For more information about volunteer opportunities at the Air Zoo, please call 269.382.6555 or visit

The Air Zoo is a nonprofit organization located at 6151 Portage Road in Portage, Mich. It is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and offers a restaurant, gift shop and banquet facilities. General admission is free. Unlimited rides and attractions may be purchased with a wristband package or can be purchased individually with tickets.

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