Ed Johnston wins Spirit of Hope Distinguished Volunteer Pilot of the Year Award

While walking through an Aviation Event at the Buttonville Airport in 2015, Ed saw a table for Hope Air. An organization that he had never heard about, but it intrigued him.

After learning about Hope Air’s work, he signed up on the spot knowing that his skills could impact someone going through a difficult time. In July 2016 he flew his first patient from Sault Ste. Marie to Toronto.

Since becoming a Volunteer Pilot, Ed also joined Hope Air’s National Advisory Council, The Pilot Review Committee, and co-leads, with John Thompson, the Eastern Expedition for Give Hope Wings. He is a passionate advocate for Hope Air, raising funds and awareness for its programs, and regularly speaks to the public about our work and services for patients.

This year, at Hope Air’s Impact Celebration event, we presented Ed with the Distinguished Volunteer Pilot Award. This award is presented to a volunteer pilot who demonstrates remarkable dedication to Hope Air’s cause and embodies the spirit of volunteerism upon which Hope Air was founded, but his work extends much beyond that, Ed’s commitment to making a difference for our patient communities across the nation is truly inspirational, and his empathy and commitment to our mission has touched the lives of countless Hope Air patients.

“The emotional connection you get to helping patients is amazing. I got to take this young man back to Elliot Lake and he had not seen his family in nine months, so to see the family reunion was just heartwarming and tearful.”

As a passionate volunteer he strives to provide each patient with support throughout their whole travel experience including emotional support during their flights, ensuring that they get ground transportation to their appointments and the journey home.

“As a retiree giving back is really important. And then finding something that you are passionate about is even more important, because if you are passionate, good things are going to happen. And that enthusiasm will grow. If you love to fly, why not share it?”

We acknowledge that we live and work on the unceded, traditional territories of many Indigenous peoples. We are grateful for the privilege of being on lands that these peoples have nurtured since time immemorial.