ST. GEORGE — David Fernald Sr. is the 2021 Maine Aeronautics Association’s Gadabout Gaddis Cup Award recipient.

The award is bestowed upon a Maine individual or organization who made significate contributions to the state’s aviation community, past or present. The award is presented every other year at the Gadabout Gaddis Airport in Bingham, on the last Sunday of September.

Fernald is the former manager of the Northern Aroostook Airport in Frenchville, a position he held for 17 years. He retired in 2019.

Nominated by his peers in the aviation community the award is an opportunity to recognize one of their own who exemplifies the spirit of the man the award is name after — Gadabout ‘Roscoe Vernon’ Gaddis.

Gaddis was the originator and star of the “The “Flying Fisherman,” a weekly radio show turned television series in 1962, and was nominated for an Emmy in 1968. He built the airstrip in Bingham, later named in his memory, which served as the base of operations while filming the Maine series.

Fernald was instrumental in keeping the Frenchville Airport safe and sustainable; from procuring a grant for an important precision runway approach to his customer service that kept pilots coming back. His dedication to his job, customers and community never wavered.

In the furthest northern aviation outposts of Maine, there has been one family that supported the mission of LifeFlight of Maine, and that is the Fernald family, the nomination from the crew of this organization reads. Recounting how David Sr. would be out there plowing the runway many times in his own truck in the middle of the night so an emergency flight could get in and out — another life saved.

According to the LifeFlight crew, there were 603 medical excursions under Fernald’s tenure.

“Think about that number for a moment, 603 people are still walking this earth today due in some part to the efforts of the Fernald family,” the nomination reads, “he is the example we hold up when we talk about rural airports.”

The award was founded by Wes Baker, the former chairman of the Bingham-Moscow Chamber of Commerce, a position he held for over 30 years. Baker died in 2014. Maine Aeronautics Association, the state’s pilot’s organization with Baker’s help, took over the management of the award in 2009.

The awards luncheon will be held at Patrick’s Restaurant at the Bingham Airport Sept. 26 at 11:30 a.m. The date and location are subject to change.