2016 Award Winners

Colonel Richard Iversen (ret)

Veterans Airlift Command Colonel Richard Iversen (ret) - Veterans Airlift Command

Dick was born and raised in Anacortes, Washington. He graduated from Central Washington University with a degree in Aerospace Science & Education and took a commission in the U.S. Air Force and completed Undergraduate Pilot Training. During the course of his career, he has flown over 10 U.S. military aircraft including the T-41,T-37, T-38, T-39, KC-135, F-4D, B-52, AC-119K, FB-111 & B-1B. He was commanding officer of the 528th Bomb Squadron (FB-111s), aide, executive officer & command pilot to the Commander, Strategic Air Command and was also the Director of Combat Plans for Strategic Air Command. He served at various headquarters staff, executive & command positions, the Pentagon and was Director of the $20.5 billion dollar B-1B Program where he regularly briefed the Secretary of Defense. Dick was Commanding Officer of the 28th Bomb Wing, Ellsworth AFB, SD, the largest B-1B and nuclear capable base in the USAF. During two tours in Vietnam, he flew over 350 combat missions and has received numerous awards and decorations including the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, 13 Air Medals, Meritorious Service Medal, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry and the Presidential Unit Citation. Following AF retirement, he worked for the Boeing Company as Director of Bomber Programs for their Military Defense & Space Group. He is currently on contract as a private consultant to the Boeing Military Aircraft Division in St. Louis, MO. Dick holds a Masters in Business (MBA) from Louisiana State University and a Masters in International Relations (IR) from the University of Rhode Island. He is also a graduate of the Air War College, Army War College and the Naval War College. Currently he is active with JEFFAIR—great friends and accomplished aviators, Captain Jeff Hendricks, Tim Lewis, Mike Freeman and Kevin Ware. They provide air transportation for medical or compassionate reasons to America’s wounded soldiers, veterans and their families through a national network of volunteer aircraft owners and pilots, called the Veterans Airlift Command. Dick’s wife Jan, is President of the Anacortes Island Hospital Board of Commissioners and active in supporting JEFFAIR public benefit flights for veterans. They live on Guemes Island, WA and have three children and six grandchildren.

Jim Platz

Patient Airlift Services (PALS)
Rick Durden - 2015 Endeavor Award Winner

Jim Platz is Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors and has served on the board since the inception of Patient Airlift Services. Jim works as a structural and civil engineer involved in real estate development. He was a director of Androscoggin Bank and the chairman of Head Invest investment management until retiring last year.

Jim has devoted much of his time to helping non-profit charities and has extensive experience in public outreach and fundraising. He has had previous directorship roles with St. Mary’s Healthcare, Growing Through Adoption, Auburn-Lewiston YMCA and Hebron Academy. Jim has over 17 years experience as a volunteer pilot and has flown more than 5000 missions and logged over 7000 hours of volunteer flying time. In addition to his dedicated service to Patient Airlift Services, Jim has flown volunteer hours for Air Life Line, Northern Wings, Angel Flight NE, Make A Wish Foundation, New England Aquarium and the Maine Audubon Society.

When speaking of his experiences with Patient Airlift Services, Jim says “I am continually amazed by the courage, determination, faith, and positive attitudes that our patients show in the face of challenging situations. It is an honor and a privilege to be a part of these people’s lives.”

Jim and his wife Candice live in Auburn, Maine and have two daughters. Jim’s recreational interests include underwater photography, backpacking, bicycling and kayaking.

Dianna Stanger

Angel Flight South Central
Steve Purello - 2015 Endeavor Award Winner

Dianna Stanger has been a civilian pilot for 20 years; she learned to fly in helicopters when she and her husband lived on an island. She loves life in the sky so much that she has set a course to introduce more women (who comprise only 6 percent of America’s pilots) to careers in aviation. As President of Whirly-Girls International, she promotes women in rotary wing aviation through events and scholarships. As Chair of Angel Flight South Central (AFSC), a nonprofit that pairs volunteer pilots and their aircraft with people in need of medical transport, she strives to increase awareness among patients and healthcare providers of this life-sustaining free service. An AFSC Pilot since 2001, Dianna piloted the first ever AFSC helicopter mission.

While Dianna’s compassionate nature finds expression through nonprofit endeavors, her competitive side is fueled through participation in the annual Air Race Classic, an all-women transcontinental air race. By finishing first in the 2,400-mile competition in 2012, and 2014, Dianna and her team were able to fund multiple scholarships for young women to pursue an education in aviation.

At the 2015 Reno Air Race, the only closed-course air race in the U.S., Dianna’s team, Darkstar Air Racing, made history as the first and only all-female-owned-and-piloted aircraft to enter the event. The team placed fifth in the championship gold class of jets. In 2008 Dianna became the Calhoun County Airport Manager. Working with the Texas Department of Transportation, she secured more than $3.5 million in airport improvements. The airport was named Texas’s “Most Improved Airport” in 2009.

Dianna was named the “Most Dedicated Female Pilot in the World” in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016 by the Institute of Women of Aviation Worldwide. She and husband Al are principal owners of Electro-Methods, LLC, a jet-engine-component manufacturer in Connecticut that has been in operation for more than 50 years.