The agricultural aviation community honored the recipients of the 2022 NAAA Awards last month at the closing banquet of the 2022 Ag Aviation Expo in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Hosted by emcees Rod Thomas and Eric Klindt, the 2022 awards ceremony celebrated the achievements of nine NAAA Award recipients. The following individuals were honored for their contributions to the betterment of the agricultural aviation industry.
2022 NAAA Award Recipients
Agrinaut Award: George Parker III, Crop Jet Aviation, Gooding, ID – awarded for his outstanding contributions in the field of agricultural aircraft operations.
Allied Industry Individual Award: Ian McVay, Transland/Satloc, Wichita Falls, TX – awarded for his significant contributions benefiting the aerial application industry and its allied industry.
Evans-Christopher Operation S.A.F.E. Award: Matt Gill, NAAA, Fisher, IL – awarded for his outstanding contributions to the Operation S.A.F.E. program.
John Robert Horne Memorial Award: Hayden DeBlieck, Agri-Tech Aviation, Indianola, IA – awarded for his exemplary flight safety record as a developing agricultural aviator.
John Robert Horne Memorial Award: Alex Viger, Wilbur Ellis, Wahpeton, ND – awarded for his exemplary flight safety record as a developing agricultural aviator.
Opal and Bill Binnion Memorial Award: Matt Peed, Rutledge Airborne Applications, Coolidge, AZ – awarded for his exemplary efforts to educate the public about aerial application.
Richard “Dick” Reade Memorial Award: Steve Rice, North Star Aviation, Ulysses, KS – awarded for his and his company’s outstanding contributions to the agricultural aviation industry.
William O. Marsh Safety Award: Rod Thomas, Thomas Helicopters Inc., Gooding, ID – awarded for his steadfast commitment and significant contributions to aviation safety and safety education.
Zoren and Joan O’Brien Outstanding Service Award: Lee Turnquist, Whirly Birds Inc., Lake Wales, FL – awarded for his outstanding contributions to the National Agricultural Aviation Association and the agricultural aviation industry.
The awards ceremony was marked by several heartfelt acceptance speeches, including remarks by Lee Turnquist, who received the Zoren and Joan O’Brien Memorial Outstanding Service Award.
“EAA founder Paul Poberezny once said, ‘Airplanes bring us together, but it’s friendships that keep us together,’” Turnquist told the audience. “Let me expand a little and say the love of flying and ag aviation brings us together, but it is the NAAA, the hardworking staff, NAAREF, volunteers on committees and each one of you out there that is the glue that holds us together.”
To nominate somebody for a 2023 NAAA Award, please visit AgAviation.org/awards.