Make-A-Wish® Michigan names GFIA Community Partner Honoree of the year


By Tara Hernandez, Gerald R. Ford International Airport


The Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GFIA) was recognized as a Community Partner Honoree of the Year by Make-A-Wish® Michigan at the annual Wish Ball earlier this month.


As a part of Wish Ball-West Michigan, Make-A-Wish Michigan recognizes three honorees: an Individual Honoree, a Corporate Partner Honoree, and a Community Partner Honoree. Each honoree is selected based on the impact they have on the organization’s ability to grant wishes to Michigan children with life-threatening medical conditions.


The Gerald R. Ford International Airport was selected as the 2017 Community Partner Honoree because of its game-changing impact on the Make-A-Wish Michigan mission, as well as the Airport’s commitment to creating special experiences for wish kids and families as they leave for their wish journeys. GFIA also played a vital role in the enhancement of one such recipient, young Anthony, whose wish to become a pilot was the 9,000th wish granted by Make-A-Wish® Michigan. Anthony was also surprised at the ball as Grand Rapids Station Manager for Southwest Nate Tenbrink told the youngster that Southwest would be flying him to Dallas to experience the Flight Operations Center; he will also get to ride in a 737 simulator.


“What a tremendous honor to be recognized by Make-A-Wish Michigan among all of the wonderful partners in the community,” said GFIA President & CEO Jim Gill. “We are proud to work with Make-A-Wish to make wishes come true, and to send the families off with a stress-free experience and a break from their times at medical appointments and hospital visits.”


Make-A-Wish Michigan has sent hundreds of kids and their families through the Gerald R. Ford International Airport, and 75-percent of wishes involve travel.


“The Gerald R. Ford International Airport … go[es] out of their way to provide special send offs and enhancements to our wish kids,” said Karen Davis, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish Michigan. “This year’s Wish Ball theme was ‘Let Your Dreams Take Flight’, which is exactly what special friends like the Gerald R. Ford International Airport allow our wish children to do.”


With the help of generous donors and 40,000 volunteers worldwide, Make-A-Wish has collectively granted more than 415,000 wishes worldwide, making it the world’s largest wish-granting organization. For more information on Make-A-Wish Michigan, visit