Harrison Ford Receives Aero Club of New England’s Godfrey L. Cabot Award

Harrison Ford had the people of Boston buzzing earlier this month, when he was spotted visiting popular locations like the Freedom Trail and Fanueil Hall. He was in town as a guest of the Aero Club of New England, which honored the actor and pilot with its annual Godfrey L. Cabot Award for his work in promoting the Experimental Aircraft Association's Young Eagles program, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

“The Young Eagles program… is an effort that many of you have contributed to and it has provided a great service to those who have an ambition to join our aviation family,” the actor told the audience. “I was very honored and very reluctant to accept the obligation of following in the footsteps of General Chuck Yeager… It led me to recognize and realize that I could possibly be useful with my notoriety in carrying some of the water that needs to be brought, so that people understand the value of general aviation and the incredible benefit aviation has brought to our modern lives.”

Ford’s acceptance speech was equal parts humble and inspirational, but he also called on ACONE members to be vocal about the current issues affecting GA.

“All of us involved in aviation know that we face certain obstacles — the loss of airports, the threat of user fees, potentially the complications of privatization of air traffic control — these are things we need to maintain a degree of vigilance about and come together to try and create some understanding amongst our legislative servants, to educate them about the consequences of some of these programs,” he said. “I know that all of you feel a responsibility as citizens to stand up and speak your minds about those things, and we all need to encourage ourselves to do that.”

He even elicited a few laughs from the crowd at his own expense, mocking his recent taxiway landing and his "dumb schmuck" moment. But it wasn't all about Ford, as the actor used his appearance to make a special evening even more exciting for one Young Eagle, who chose the ACONE event over his high school graduation. That teen ended up receiving his diploma from Ford himself.

"They had all the kids stand up, and said, 'One of our students here today had to make a big decision between graduating high school and being here. And guess what? He chose to be with us! Come on up here! We have something for ya'," an attendee told People magazine. "He chose this [event], and they surprised him with Harrison giving him his diploma."


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