We are delighted to announce that one of our most dedicated volunteer pilots, Melvin Jenschke, has been named a finalist for a 2018 Endeavor Award. Our sister organization, Angel Flight West, grants three Endeavor Awards each year to celebrate volunteer pilots who provide untiring support to organizations that coordinate relief flights.
Each winning pilot's affiliated organization is awarded a $15,000 grant. The last time Angel Flight South Central received this grant was in 2016, when volunteer pilot and board chair Dianna Stanger won an Endeavor Award.
Please vote for Mr. Jenschke by noon on January 31, when voting closes. The award ceremony will be held on May 12 in Los Angeles.
With 354 flights, Jenschke has flown the second highest number of missions in the history of Angel Flight South Central. For more than 18 years now, he has helped people travel to and from medical treatment centers and has changed the lives of numerous people. Our records show he has flown 1,232 hours and spent $959,728 for airplane and fuel expenses to facilitate those missions.
When asked what he likes best about being an AFSC volunteer pilot, Jenschke said, "Helping! Throughout my life, many people have helped me. The pilots, mechanics, Mooney factory employees, mentors in the Cable Television industry that I've been a part of for 44 years. So, helping others is a way of saying thanks to all who helped me along the way."
A lifelong fascination with planes
At 12 years of age, Melvin Jenschke was already fascinated with airplanes. Growing up next to an airport in Kerrville, TX, he would spend his days jumping the fence (something that can’t be done today) to hang around the FBO. He would bum airplane rides, watch and try to help the aircraft mechanics, and occasionally wander into the Mooney Aircraft factory. In those early years of his life, he promised himself that someday he’d become a pilot.
After leaving the service in 1962, Jenschke went to work for a government contractor that refurbished C-47 aircraft at an old airbase in Hondo, TX. There was a flying club at the airport and he began to take lessons. Jenschke flew his first solo flight that year in a Cessna 140, but he did not complete his training and earn his private pilot’s license until 14 years later, in 1976. Once that goal was achieved, Jenschke decided to continue with his training and earn his single-engine land instrument rating, multi-engine land instrument rating, A&P Certification (aircraft airframe and power plant mechanic), and IA Certification (inspection authorization).
Jenschke worked at the same company for 34 years, but in 1999, he found himself in an unexpected retirement after a company merger. He spent the next two years contemplating what he could do with his life.
Then, one day he received a card in the mail about Angel Flight. Jenschke drove to Addison, TX, and spoke to Beth about volunteering as an Angel Flight South Central pilot. Jenschke decided it was something worth doing and signed up immediately. Besides the joy of helping others, Jenschke says that flying missions with AFSC helps keep him "current in the airplane.”
To honor our pilot's dedication and the organization he serves, please vote for Melvin Jenschke by January 31. (Only one vote per email address will be counted.)