AAR Landing Gear Inspector Ships Taste of Home to U.S. Troops
December 20, 2012
Operation Banana Cake ships 144 homemade treats, notes of appreciation to Afghanistan
MIAMI, Florida – As AAR provides airlift and other support to the U.S. government and its allies in Afghanistan, an employee at its Landing Gear repair facility is providing a different type of comfort for the holidays: a taste of home.
Leandro Santana, 49, with the help of his wife, Clara, this week launched Operation Banana Cake, mixing, baking and shipping nearly 150 banana cakes to a platoon in Kandahar. Santana says his mission is about more than just dessert. The couple’s son, also named Leandro, 22, is deployed to Afghanistan with the U.S. Air Force. When their son requested his mother’s traditional banana cake – to make him feel a little less homesick over the holidays – Santana and his wife, Clara, decided to include the whole platoon and Operation Banana Cake was born
“My wife and I want to acknowledge the service and sacrifice of the men and women overseas,” said Santana, a non-destructive test inspector who has been with AAR (NYSE: AIR) for two years. “It’s a labor of love for us because our son, too, will be away for the holidays. He’s benefitted from the kindness of others and we also wanted to do something special to give back.”
The Santanas’ goal was to make 100 banana cakes to send along with personalized notes. The couple asked for $8 donations to sponsor a cake; $5 to go toward boxing and shipping costs and $3 to make the cakes. The Santanas' posted on Facebook and Twitter, and the word of mouth spread. The response was greater than expected. The couple received donations from as far away as Kankakee, Illinois, and New York, as well as from 30 AAR employees, and shipped 144 cakes this week.
“We took pictures of what we did and scanned some of the notes to show people – so they know where their $8 went,” said Clara Santana, adding the recipe has been passed down in her family.
“The efforts by Leandro and his wife are truly inspiring and exemplifies the kind of civic engagement we want to encourage by our employees,” said Pastor Lopez, General Manager, AAR Landing Gear Services. “We are also gratified by the participation of so many AAR employees. It’s great work all around.”
Twenty percent of AAR’s workforce is made up of military veterans, and nearly half of its business is in support of government and defense operations. Melbourne-based AAR Airlift Group provides transport for military personnel and delivers mail to troops, completing 20,000 missions last year.
“In fact, our airlift pilots might be the ones who actually deliver those banana cakes,” Lopez added, “just in time for the holidays.”
AAR was recently named the Best Aircraft Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) Provider in the Americas, Aircraft Parts Supplier of the Year and was ranked among the Top Five MROs in surveys of airline executives and industry professionals.
AAR is a global aftermarket solutions company that employs more than 5,500 people in over 20 countries. Based in Wood Dale, Illinois, AAR supports commercial aviation and government customers through two operating segments: Aviation Services and Expeditionary Services. AAR’s Aviation Services include inventory management; parts supply; OEM parts distribution; aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul; engineering services and component repair. AAR’s Expeditionary Services include airlift operations; mobility systems; and command and control centers in support of military and humanitarian missions. More information can be found at www.aarcorp.com.
Kathleen Cantillon at Kathleen.Cantillon@aarcorp.com | 630-227-2081 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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