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Showing trust, respect and care for one another is one of our Guiding Principles at Republic Airways. We’re driven to use our time, talent and treasure to help others – children, in particular – as a strong supporter of nonprofit and charitable organizations that benefit the health and well-being of today’s youth. Our biggest fundraiser is our annual Plane Pull, an epic tug-of-war with a 24-ton aircraft that has raised more than $2.4 million for children’s charities since 2011. Our key partners for this event include Indiana Children’s Wish Fund, Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent, Riley Children’s Foundation and A Kid Again. Each year, our event gets bigger and better, and that’s due largely to our army of selfless Associates, volunteers and generous sponsors. Join us!
8th Annual Republic Airways Plane Pull
Our 8th annual event April 21, 2018, was a record-setter on several fronts:
- Record 66 teams: That’s 20 more than last year, many of them first-time participants.
- Record turnout: About 2,000 people filled our Indianapolis Maintenance Center (IMC) to watch the pull teams, tour aircraft, sample food vendors and enjoy our free kid’s activity zone sponsored by Kroger. We had participants from several states, some from as far away as Florida (thanks for coming, Embraer!).
- Record pull time: 22 seconds by AAR MRO Services – a new Plane Pull record!
Winning team: AAR, pulling under the team name Burning Phoenix, was a first-timer at the event, posting the all-time event record of 6.22 seconds. AAR didn’t have to travel far for the event, given the aircraft repair and maintenance company maintains operations next door to our IMC at Indianapolis International Airport.
Runner-up: Carmel Fire Department (CFD), with a pull time of 6.76 seconds. CFD won our inaugural event in 2011 and again 2014. The Plane Pull is held in memory of Tyler Frenzel, whose dad, Eric (shown third from right), is a Carmel, Ind., firefighter.
Best team costume: Ice Miller LLP of Indianapolis, pulling under the team name Bravehearts/Carr’s Commandos, for their Braveheart-inspired/Scottish warrior costumes.
- Fundraising total: Donations are still being tallied, but so far about $400,000 has been raised through the competition teams, silent auctions, donations and evening Gala. That brings Republic’s fundraising total to more than $2.4 million since the Plane Pull started in 2011.
- Sponsors: More than 100 financial and in-kind sponsors supported this year’s event, including Indianapolis firms like Ice Miller LLP, Estridge Homes, Huntington Bank, DeveloperTown, Indianapolis Airport Authority and Evans Audio (you couldn’t miss their 21-foot-wide video screen!). National support was strong, too, including Kroger, Dr. Pepper, Hotel Connections, Southwest Airlines and all of our codeshare partners.
- Celebrities galore! Special guests included Super Bowl champ/Colts defensive legend Robert Mathis, Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett, Colts wide receiver J.K. Brent, racing star John Andretti, even Pacers mascot Boomer! Also on hand were nearly two dozen Star Wars characters from the local chapter of the national 501st Legion Vader’s Fist group – including a 10-foot Chewbacca and remote-controlled R2-D2!
“It was an amazing event, and it truly warms our hearts to see so many people come together for such important causes,” said Amy Chiappe, director of our Corporate and Community Responsibility Department, which coordinates the event. “All the donations, the fundraisers, the volunteers – we couldn’t have done it without the support from literally all departments in the Company. In particular, though, special thanks goes to the morning and evening silent auction coordinators, as well as our entire IMC team for all the extra hours and effort to set up and tear down the hangar for the event.”