RAF National Fire Circle Program Raises Funds and Awareness For Recreational Aviation

First Fire Hub Built at Sun ‘n Fun and Sponsored by AOPA

The Recreational Aviation Foundation today announced the creation of the RAF Fire Hub initiative. The project’s goal is the construction of sponsored Fire Hubs to support the organization’s conservation and advocacy efforts.  RAF President John McKenna said, “I am very pleased to announce that the very first project is sponsored by AOPA at a site donated by the folks at Sun ‘n Fun in their campground at KLAL in Lakeland, FL.” Dedication ceremonies will take place during this year’s Sun ‘n Fun event March 26th thru April 1st.  

Craig Fuller, AOPA President, said, “AOPA is proud to support the RAF’s work to protect and promote back country airstrips. These fields are a truly unique resource that provide unparalleled access to some of the most remote and beautiful land anywhere. Some of my favorite flying experiences have involved spending time with my fellow pilots around campfires at back country strips, and I know many of AOPA’s members can say the same. I encourage everyone who knows the joy of camping under the wing at a remote strip to support this project.”

John “Lites” Leenhouts, President of Sun ‘n Fun, said, “We are thrilled to be the first location of the RAF Fire Hubs. Bringing together pilots is one of our primary missions and the Fire Hub will be a great gathering place during the convention and throughout the year.”

Each Fire Hub location will reflect the locale of the site, while incorporating aviation themed design elements that clearly identify the location as one of RAF’s Fire Hubs. McKenna said, “By purchasing engraved bricks, RAF supporters can memorialize their name and tail number, include a short quote or honor friends and loved ones.  At the same time, they will show their support for RAF’s mission of preserving, maintaining, and creating public use recreational and backcountry airstrips.”

Explaining Fire Hubs, McKenna said, “Throughout history campfires have served as gathering places. From early pioneers to modern boy scouts and recreational pilots, it is the place at day’s end to gather with friends, prepare food, share stories and plan the coming day. Nothing could be more symbolic of what the RAF is all about; in fact the original decision to start the organization resulted from a camp fire discussion.”

Submitted on March 21, 2012.

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