Warrenton, VA. Virginia-based international aviation nonprofit Air Serv International, is mobilizing to begin operations within the Navajo Nation. The program will be primarily funded by a generous grant from the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading (ISTAT) Foundation, which was awarded last week.
The ISTAT Foundation is dedicated to supporting individuals and institutions that promote the advancement of commercial aviation and humanitarianism and last month, had announced the commitment of funds totaling $500,000 toward supporting COVID-19 relief. The dedicated funding is in addition to the planned giving distributed by the Foundation throughout the year in scholarships, internships, education, grants, and humanitarian programs.
With the support of the ISTAT Foundation, Air Serv will implement an air bridge operation based out of Phoenix, AZ. The program will transport and deliver critically needed humanitarian relief supplies into the Navajo Nation territory, which has been especially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The sovereign nation, approximately the size of West Virginia, has a population of just under 200,000 and is experiencing the highest death rate per capita within the United States borders.
“This grant from the ISTAT Foundation directly enables us to do what Air Serv was designed for,” says Air Serv President Stu Willcuts, “which is to bring aid where it’s most needed.” The program marks an exception for Air Serv, which has historically operated outside of the United States, and highlights the challenges faced by indigenous tribes.
Despite its size, the residents of the Navajo Nation have access to fewer than 20 grocery stores, endure a severe lack of paved roads, and an estimated one third of the population does not have access to running water. “We never imagined that our services would be required here on domestic soil, but we are committed to doing what we can for as long as we are able,” promises Willcuts.
Air Serv aircraft are the bridge connecting lifesaving aid with those who need it most. The organization is urgently requesting donations and pledges as it responds to this unprecedented crisis. Monetary contributions can be made through the organization’s website at www.airserv.org/donate. Supporters who wish to offer in-kind donations or partner with Air Serv on this program are asked to contact the organization directly at email@example.com.
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