Instead of airplanes, Hangar 11N at Meacham International Airport was filled with holiday tables and rows of children’s bicycles Dec. 11 as guests of the seventh annual American Aero FTW holiday luncheon filed in with their own gifts to brighten the holidays for a child in need.
The annual celebration hosted by American Aero, a fixed base operator (FBO) that serves the ground handling needs of private aviation customers, benefits the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program.
This year’s event collected nearly 200 toys and bikes donated by American Aero and its clients, tenants, vendors, and area first responders, American Aero said in a news release.
Since opening its doors in 2012, American Aero has purchased more than 600 bicycles and helped gather another 1,400 gifts. Toys for Tots benefits about 150,000 children throughout Tarrant and surrounding North Texas counties by gathering new, unwrapped toys to distribute as Christmas gifts.
“This is one of my favorite events of the year,” said Staff Sgt. Jason Smith, coordinator for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. “It is truly satisfying to watch that pile of toys and gifts grow and to know that area children will benefit from the generosity of American Aero and the local aviation community.”
In addition to supporting Toys for Tots, over the years American Aero has contributed $116,000 to the Navy SEAL Foundation, with funds earmarked to support scholarships for SEALs interested in earning a pilot certification.
The FBO also played a lead role in renovations at Meacham International Airport and was ranked the No. 1 FBO in Texas and the Southwest in the 2019 Aviation International News FBO Survey.
“The American Aero team is known for going above and beyond for customers and that commitment extends to our philanthropic efforts as well,” Robert M. Bass, founder of American Aero, said in the release. “It is gratifying to know that the gifts donated here today will help lift the spirits of children in need this holiday season.”