The PENTA Legacy Fund Grant Supports 1st Wings for Autism Plane Pull

WESTBOROUGH, MA _ Today, the Worcester Regional Airport was energized by crowds of people from all over the region showing camaraderie, strength, and positive spirit to raise funds to benefit a charity and in celebration of another milestone – the Airport’s 300,000th JetBlue passenger.

Numerous teams comprised of community and business organizations competed for bragging rights to see which group could pull a 62-ton JetBlue A320 aircraft the fastest for 30 feet across the asphalt at Worcester Regional Airport during its first Wings for Autism Plane Pull charity event.

The Wings for Autism Plane Pull was the first of its kind ever held in Worcester. The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport), in partnership with JetBlue (which services Worcester Airport), presented the event in commemoration of the Airport’s service to more than 300,000 JetBlue passengers. Twelve co-ed teams of 25 volunteers each donated $250 per team for the opportunity to muscle the large plane across the 30-foot deck.

Participating teams included the Worcester Police Department, Worcester Sheriff’s Department, Worcester Fire Department, City of Worcester/Seven Hills Foundation, Creedon & Co., Euro American, Holy Cross Athletics, Team Nelson Place, Worcester Bravehearts Staff, Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, Worcester Media Outlets, and Worcester Regional Airport Employees. The fastest team was comprised of Worcester Police Department members, who completed the feat in 10.94 minutes.

Massport, owner of Worcester Regional Airport, raised funds from teams and community business partners, and donated $7,000 to Seven Hills Foundation as a result of today’s celebratory Plane Pull.

The PENTA Legacy Fund contributed a $500 grant in support of this community event.

The PENTA Legacy Fund, which is a Donor Advised Fund of the Greater Worcester Community Foundation, was designed to give back for the betterment of the community.

“It was truly our pleasure to award this grant in support of the Wings for Autism Plane Pull at the Worcester Regional Airport,” said Deborah Penta.

“The teams that participated in the Plane Pull showed extraordinary strength and great character and spirit by pulling a large aircraft,” Penta added. “This same strength will serve to help families with children on the autism spectrum through the Seven Hills Foundation.”

The Charles River Center, a private, nonprofit human service organization in Needham, developed Wings for Autism as a free program to support families with autism. The program offers a travel test run to help reduce the stress of airline travel by creating a travel routine, which is especially helpful for children with autism who rely on repetition and structure. Wings for Autism originated at Boston Logan International Airport in 2011 and has since been offered in more than 20 airports in the United States.