Posted on Jul 16, 2019
Sunrise Rotary and the City of Plattsburgh honored the Plattsburgh Air Park Restoration Group of Volunteers with 2019 "Spirit of Ianelli" Award at the Mayor's Cup Regatta Awards Ceremony on Saturday, July 6, 2019.

The "Spirit of Ianelli" Award was established in 2010 in honor of the late Mayor John Ianelli, former Mayor of the City of Plattsburgh and co-founder of the Mayor’s Cup Regatta in 1978. This honor is bestowed upon an individual  or individuals – sailor or landlubber – who exemplify the same “community does matter” spirit that inspired Mayor Ianelli 42 years ago, empowering our lake community to thrive, not only on race day, but every day.

The Clinton County Historical Association nominated the Plattsburgh Air Park Restoration Group of Volunteers for their work refurbishing the military aircraft located at the Clyde Lewis Air Park, located at the entrance to the Old Base Museum Campus. They have collectively volunteered over 1700 hours towards restoring, painting and polishing the FB-111, the iconic ‘Pride of the Adirondacks’ B-47 and the Mini FB-111 at the Clyde Lewis Air Park. The restoration effort consists of approximately 15 retired USAF members or veteran service members, who share a love and respect for preserving these important aeronautical examples of North Country/USAF history.

According to Geri Favreau, President of the Board of the Clinton County Historical Association, “If it were not for this group of dedicated, hard-working volunteers, these aircraft, that have been an important part of the North Country’s history and heritage, might very well have been lost. Each year for decades, the public has anticipated the appearance of Santa at the Air Park, signaling the arrival of the holiday season. Many residents of the North Country recall Santa astride the ‘Pride of the Adirondacks’. These aircraft represent a lasting legacy and reminder of the people who served here and the role that the Plattsburgh Air Force Base played in the North Country for 40 years. The B-47 aircraft has been on display since 1966 and shows the effects of time and weather. It will be restored to its former glory through the efforts of these volunteers.”
“This group truly exemplifies the “Community Does Matter” spirit that inspired Mayor and Helen Ianelli’s volunteerism ethic, and that of past honorees. Their dedication to this project demonstrates their efforts to preserve these important symbols of the North Country’s Air Force heritage. You need only visit the Clyde Lewis Air Park to readily see the results of the group’s efforts, said Geri Favreau.
Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read commented, "The award this year is once again an excellent example of a committed group of individuals coming together on a project that unites us all and helps us memorialize something so important to our entire region. Now that's the Ianelli Spirit!"
Sunrise Rotary President Libby Quéguiner added, “Sunrise Rotary is proud to support our local heritage. Our club is delighted that the committee has chosen to honor the Plattsburgh Air Park Restoration Group of Volunteers and to recognize their tremendous efforts to both preserve and enhance the community in which we live.”