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Alumnus-Faculty Member Honored for Humanitarian Efforts

William P. 'Scott' Welch with Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour.The co-founder of an “aviation ministry” that has flown hundreds of mercy missions in its six-year history who also is a graduate both of Pennsylvania College of Technology and its immediate predecessor is the recipient of the college’s 2005 Alumni Citizenship/Humanitarian Award.

William P. “Scott” Welch, an instructor of diesel equipment technology in the college’s School of Natural Resources Management, received a certificate in diesel mechanics from Williamsport Area Community College in 1985 and an associate degree in diesel technology from Penn College 10 years later.

He is the co-founder of His Wings Ministry, which, this past summer, carried $620,000 in much-needed medicine and supplies to a New Orleans hospital in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Since it was established in 1999, the nonprofit organization also has provided more than 1,000 people with free air transportation for medical or humanitarian reasons, never charging a fee to patients or health-care providers.

“I have flown with him many times and am always amazed at his commitment to the needs of others,” his nominator wrote. “Whether it is a member of the college community or an unknown stranger, Scott is always there to help.”

On several of those hurricane-relief trips, the nominator continued: “He climbed into the pilot’s seat and had supplies pulled in behind him, so as not to waste any space. His co-pilot was a seat full of supplies.” On one hurricane-relief flight, Welch reunited a lost 7-year-old girl with her father in Altoona.

Welch, who is certified by the Federal Aviation Administration as a commercial pilot (with 4,000 hours of flight time) and an airframe-and-powerplant mechanic, also airlifted rescue dogs to the World Trade Center site after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. On one such flight, he calmly landed his aircraft after one of its two engines blew out 45 minutes into his journey.

Welch also is certified as a master diesel technician by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence and has written nine trade publications.

He and his wife, Joyce, are the parents of four children and the grandparents of six.

The Alumni Citizenship/Humanitarian Award promotes the responsibility of graduates to participate in their communities and recognizes alumni who have provided distinguished community or volunteer service.

The Alumni Relations Office also presents Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna and Alumnus/Alumna Achievement awards at the college’s May graduation ceremonies and Mentorship Awards at August commencement.

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