A Passion for Aviation and Youth Takes Flight
To say Don Wolfe likes flying is like saying someone likes breathing. His passion began at the age of five on his family’s dairy farm in Ohio where he watched planes drop rye grass in the field next to his home. Don recalls, “I could go out there in the pasture and those guys were going over at 50 feet and I’d see them streaking out across the fields. I could see the pilots in there. I thought, man, that looks like fun.”
Through steadfast determination he built a long and successful career from flying F100 jets for the Air National Guard to a decade’s long career as a pilot flying 747s for United Airlines. When he was nearing retirement, Don knew he had to prepare for his next stage in life. But like all other aspects of his career, he trusted his mentors and peers would help guide his way. It was this confidence that inspired his philanthropy today.
Don and his wife Lori each retired and settled in Auburn where Don quickly joined the Board of Directors of the Aviation Airport Association (AAA). The Board has three main operational goals: to build membership and comradery around a passion for aviation, to inform the City of Auburn about the operations of the Auburn Airport and to provide a scholarship program for young adults interested in a career of aviation.
“Our Board takes great pride in fostering future pilots because whether you’re a charter pilot or a military pilot, all aviators tend to share a specific set of attributes,” said Don. We are goal oriented, have the ability to stay calm under stress and have the integrity and humility to know when to rely on our partner pilots.” All of us on the board and scholarship committee know these traits in a young woman or young man the second we meet them. It’s exciting to watch them grow and develop in their careers.”
In 2019 the Board of AAA elected to establish the Auburn Aviation Association Education Endowment Fund at PCF. Earnings from investment of assets in the fund will provide ongoing support of annual scholarships to future pilots. In 2020 Don and his wife Lori committed to a gift in their estate plan to PCF in support of their fund upon their passing.
“The biggest sell for me with PCF is that the money works forever,” said Don. “That’s huge. For someone to give a hundred dollars to the fund and know that it’s going to grow over the years and provide more dollars for education, on and on and on forever, that’s an easy sell for me.”
P.O. Box 9207
Auburn, California 65604