Washington, DC

Photo Credit: NOSLINA

Airlink was honored to receive the Special Distinguished Service Award for contributions to the fight against the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone from the National Organization of Sierra Leoneans in North America (NOSLINA) at an event held Saturday night in Silver Spring, Maryland. Airlink accepted the award on behalf of its partners, which include 11 airlines and 37 -profit humanitarian aid organizations, as well as major funder, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. 

“When Airlink stepped into the Ebola crisis, it afforded the Sierra Leone diaspora the ability to get involved in the Ebola crisis back home,” said Chairman of the NOSLINA, Dr. John Davies-Cole. “We were in the position to help our kinsmen, because of Airlink.”

In the fall of 2014, as the Ebola crisis was worsening, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation granted Airlink $3 million as part of the foundation’s #TackleEbola campaign to reach zero cases of Ebola in West Africa. Airlink used the grant to establish an Air Bridge from the US and Europe into West Africa. Through the Air Bridge, Airlink and its partners delivered more than 1.3 million pounds of cargo through more than 100 separate shipments. The total value of the cargo delivered exceeded $55 million (USD), and helped thousands of people get crucial medical care throughout the crisis.

“This was a tremendous effort that would not have been possible without the dedication and hard work of many in this room, our partners, and let’s not forget those on the ground in Sierra Leone,” said Steven Smith, Executive Director of Airlink. “NOSLINA should also be recognized not only for its ability to pull together support from the diaspora, but also helping Airlink to navigate and prioritize what was needed on the ground and how we should approach the response.”

Dr. Davies-Cole and NOSLINA Executive Director Suna Nallo presented the award to Steven Smith and Airlink Board Members Ken Gazzola and Robyn Mandel as part of a the NOSLINA’s 2016 Gala. The awards gala was also attended by Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the United States, Ambassador Bockari Kortu Stevens, who was a key leadership figure in the response to Ebola.

“Working with groups like Airlink and NOSLINA in the United States, Ambassador Stevens helped to pave the way for shipments of critical supplies that helped eradicate Ebola in the country,” said Airlink Executive Director, Steven Smith.


About Airlink

Airlink is a 24/7, rapid-response disaster and humanitarian relief organization that links pre-qualified nonprofits with partner airlines for passenger and cargo transportation. Airlink’s rapid response business model supports the delivery of the right aid to the right people at the right time. With a global air transportation network that is constantly expanding as crises and natural disasters continue to occur around the world, Airlink supports humanitarian initiatives on every continent. Since its inception in 2010, Airlink’s airline partners have flown over 3,700 passengers and transported approximately 2,500,000 pounds of aid cargo. For more information, please visit www.airlinkflight.org

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Kendall Clement
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