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AUTOMOTIVE EMPLOYEE GETS TOP AVIATION AWARD

 ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- John Vergona, a test track driver for Ford Motor Company who also is a pilot, is being awarded the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association's (AOPA) prestigious 1993 Laurence P. Sharples Award in Orlando tonight.
 The presentation is being made at the Dolphin Hotel of Walt Disney World, site of the national convention of the AOPA.
 The Sharples Award, named for AOPA's founding chairman, honors annually the most outstanding contribution to general aviation by a person not employed in government or aviation full time. Vergona was named recipient because of his efforts to "save" a small airport, Mettetal Airport, from closing in Michigan. The association believes that saving small airports contributes greatly to air traffic safety.
 "The story of John Vergona is an example for all pilots," said Phil Boyer, president of the 320,000-member association. "As a 'grassroots' pilot, John Vergona is the hands down choice for the 1993 Sharples Award for extraordinary service to general aviation."
 The Sharples Award trophy, to which Vergona's name will be added, resides permanently in the aviation gallery of the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. AOPA was founded in Philadelphia nearly 55 years ago.
 -0- 11/6/93
 /CONTACT: Kevin Murphy or Pat Rishel of Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, 407-560-2675, or Anne Booker, Ford Public Affairs-Atlanta, 404-577-2277/


CO: Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association ST: Florida IN: AIR SU:

BR-BN -- ATSA001 -- 3334 11/06/93 08:30 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 6, 1993
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