YMCA of Central Florida to Host Legendary Red Tail Pilots at South Orlando YMCA

New “Vision of Flight” Aviation Technology Program for Students to be Announced with Appearance from Tuskegee Airmen ORLANDO, FL … The YMCA of Central Florida and its community partners, like Lockheed Martin Corporation, are enhancing their commitment to provide innovative opportunities that encourage math and science interests among students with its new “Vision of Flight” Aviation Technology Program at the South Orlando YMCA Family Center. Designed to complement the proposed Aviation and Aerospace Engineering Magnet at nearby Oak Ridge High School, the “Vision of Flight” program will launch with a special visit from the legendary Tuskegee Airmen on Monday, February 20 at 10 a.m. Tuskegee Airmen, some of whom belonged to the elite fighter squadron known as the Red Tail Pilots, were the first African American military aviators in the United States armed forces. During World War II, the men were specially trained to fly and maintain combat aircraft. Red Tail Pilots Lieutenant Colonel Leo Gray, Lieutenant Colonel Hiram Mann and Lieutenant Colonel George Hardy will be honored for their contributions to aviation at the YMCA event and answer audience questions about their experiences. The program begins with a performance of the Tuskegee Airmen Fight Song by Oak Ridge High School Marching Band. Orange County Commissioner Tiffany Moore-Russell and Orange County Public Schools Deputy Superintendent Barbara Jenkins will offer remarks, as well as Dr. John Johnson, president of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. Showing their commitment to science and technology, Lockheed Martin Vice President John Varley will make a special donation presentation to the YMCA of Central Florida before the unveiling of a new aviation monument to be placed at the South Orlando YMCA Family Center. The event will conclude with an opportunity for students and event attendees to interact with the Red Tail Pilots. “Red Tail Pilots have played an inspiring role in aviation history. It is a tremendous honor to host several of these legendary heroes at the South Orlando YMCA,” said Jim Ferber, president and CEO of the YMCA of Central Florida. “We are bringing the community together to hear the Red Tail Pilots share their experiences and inspire more students to take advantage of the math and science resources offered at our Technology Center. Now, students will have an opportunity to see how their learning can impact the world.” The YMCA of Central Florida works in close collaboration with educators, business leaders and local governments to develop unique learning environments that support academic achievement and high performance in schools. Its partnership with Lockheed Martin Corporation helped establish the Technology Center at South Orlando YMCA, which provides students at neighboring community schools with an opportunity to explore careers in math and science that play a significant role in Central Florida’s economic development.  The “Vision of Flight” program will support this effort by supplementing the rigorous college preparatory curriculum and hands-on activities being proposed as part of Oak Ridge High School’s Aviation and Aerospace Engineering Magnet program.


About the Y The YMCA of Central Florida is one of the area’s largest nonprofits committed to strengthening the local communities it serves. It is a diverse organization of men, women and children joined by a shared commitment to nurturing the potential of kids, promoting healthy living and fostering a sense of social responsibility. Each day 25,000 Central Florida residents are impacted by the Y when a mentor inspires a child, individuals make healthy choices and a community comes together for common good. In 2010, this YMCA Association of over 1,600 employees across 6 Florida counties impacted over 225,000 residents and invested, during a down economy, $10.2 million in its local communities through neighborhood improvement projects. Also, this Y provided $9.2 million in financial assistance to children and families that resulted in lasting personal and social change. CONTACT: Amanda Forbes, APR 407-849-0100 [email protected]