At the Lions of Michigan Service Foundation annual meeting held in Gaylord, Michigan on July 20th, 1996 Bob Larson, founder, president and coordinator of the Northwoods AirLifeline was presented the Service Foundation 1996 Humanitarian Award. That award was very much appreciated by Bob Larson. In 1996, it became obvious that a hangar was going to be required for storing planes and enable an emergency flight to make a rapid and safe takeoff. Bob Larson indicated a heated hangar would be needed to keep planes parked in so they would be ready for a trip at any time (weather permitting).
The hangar building was specified and a cost estimate was prepared. The proposed cost was approx. $150,000. With this estimate in hand, Lions International was contacted for the possibility of obtaining a Grant. Lions International did agree that a Grant would be possible if the local area and MD10 could raise $75,000 to match a Grant of $75,000 from Lions International. With the matching funds from MD10 and other local sources completed and proven possible, the Grant of $75,000 was approved.
At the MD 10 Convention in 1998, the hangar project was approved as a Lions project. At that time the Engineering and design was completed by donated Engineering time by Engineers from Cliffs Engineering Services located in Ishpeming Mi. Drawings and specifications were prepared to obtain permits and bid proposals. With the proposed cost of the building in hand and the cost not exceeding the original $150,000, we were instructed to began releasing contracts to get the building started. The first order was for the building. The order went to American Builders and in turn we had to wait for approved plans before final foundation design and work could be started.
The building design was supplied by American Builders. Once the foundation requirements were known. Cliffs Engineers completed the site plan and foundation design.
Bids were requested for the 700 yds. of fill required. Building foundation design and anchor bolt design were completed by Cliffs Engineers. Drawings and specifications were sent out for bid. The same process was done for the Electrical, Mechanical, and the Structural.
As the bids were received and reviewed , it became very apparent that we had contractors that were interested in helping the Northwoods AirLifeline Hangar project become a success. We began seeing a lot of material and time being donated. Due to the late approval date from the MD10 Lions, the building was initially scheduled for a late November delivery. As we worked on this, we did get an early November delivery, and we needed every good day of weather we could get. November and early December did prove to be mild with very little precipitation.
The hangar project was completed in early 1999 and the hangar was heated and available for plane storage by January 1999. The cost of the project did come within the $150,000 proposed budget. Due to additional funds being available, the bathroom and rest area were also completed, bringing the total project cost to $156,295.
There were donations of materials and “in kind” labor totaling $44,617. The total final value for the hangar was $200,900. The hangar has proven to be a success. The hangar is now able to store 5 planes that are ready at a moments notice to fly a mission.
The above details of the hangar project were provided by Clarence Rivers, the project coordinator for the hangar. Clarence gave an untiring commitment to the project, following it until it was completed. NWALL, as well as his family and friends, will forever miss his “can do attitude”. We lost Clarence on November 14, 2002. He left us while doing one of his favorite past times, getting ready for deer hunting at his camp. NWALL will always hold Clarence in special memory for his commitment to our cause.