Recently, The Trade Group was honored to lend a hand to our friends at the 114th RC Aero Squadron, by donating signage for its annual Warbirds Over Grapevine event. According to David Halker, who coordinates the annual event, “This is the fourth year we’ve raised money for military charities, and the second-year proceeds will benefit Snowball Express.”
Previously, proceeds from the Warbirds event have benefited the Wounded Warrior Project and the Veteran’s Coalition of North Central Texas. “Our group is very veteran oriented and includes a lot of active and retired airline pilots, most who are veterans. So, putting on a fundraiser on behalf of veteran oriented organizations really resonated with us,” Halker says.
The 114th RC Aero Squadron is a not for profit organization of dedicated modelers, hobbyists and enthusiasts of the radio control (RC) hobby. The Trade Group was introduced to the 114th by one of its members, Jeff Burns, I.T. Manager at TTG.
As Burns explains, “The organization operates an airfield based in Grapevine where RC enthusiasts go to fly radio controlled planes, helicopters and drones. Each year, we hold the Warbirds Over Grapevine event, which brings in RC pilots from around the area to raise money through entry fees, raffle tickets, food sales and more.”
Photo Credit: David Ilzhoefer
Burns asked TTG’s VP of Operations, David Stone, if the company could donate signage for the event, and Stone whole-heartedly agreed. “There were quite a few sponsors this year, so we volunteered to donate signage to highlight those sponsors. The more exposure the sponsors receive, the more likely they are to help and see return for their participation,” Burns says.
Halker was pleased with the signage and how it elevated the feel of the event. As he explains, “The banners worked out fantastic. A lot of people commented on them, and they really made the event look more professional and established.”
While the event is only a few years old, Halker is dedicated to expanding Warbirds in the future, by moving from a one-day to a two-day event, adding a silent auction and growing the amount of money raised. And he isn’t afraid to get creative to raise attention with potential sponsors.
“Chicago-based Motion RC is one of the premier online hobby shops and distributors of model airplanes, helicopters, drones and accessories in the U.S. Two rock stars of the model aircraft industry, RC pilots Pilot Ryan and Captain Mike, do online videos for Motion RC – flight reviews of new models, how-to videos, etc. So another member of the 114th and myself decided to create our own video to raise awareness about our event and encourage them to participate,” Halker says.
Photo Credit: David Ilzhoefer
The video paid off, with Motion RC sponsoring and the two RC pilots attending as celebrity guests. Promotion of their involvement helped increase attendance to more than 200 spectators and money raised up to $4,000, which was a 33 percent increase over the previous year.
The 114th chose to partner with Snowball Express for a number of reasons. First, since 2006, it has been the mission of Snowball Express to “honor America’s fallen military service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice since 9/11, by serving the families they left behind.”
In addition, Halker’s group was impressed by the fact that Snowball Express is a four-star charity that isn’t top heavy. “The organization really does a great job of supporting families of fallen service members by bringing their kids and spouses together at events around the country, including a major event in Dallas-Fort Worth. The money we raise supports those families coming to Dallas,” Halker says.
If you’d like to learn more about the 114th RC Aero Squadron and the Warbirds Over Grapevine charity event, visit the organization’s website at http://114thrc.org.
To learn more about upcoming Snowball Express fundraising events in Dallas-Fort Worth, visit the Snowball Express events page.