NCF Charity at ZMA: Roses for Your Valentine
Thursday, February 16, 2012

The NATCA Charitable Foundation (NCF) continues to grow and inspire people in many ways. Recently, Miami Center (ZMA) facility representative Steve Wallace contacted NCF President Elena Nash about getting ZMA more involved with the foundation. Wallace wanted to get someone from the facility on board to be completely responsible for charity events so they could contribute more to NCF at a local level. That’s when air traffic controllers Asela Flynn and Don Candage stepped up to the challenge and immediately got started.

It all began when Flynn was sent to CFS 2012 in Atlanta to meet Nash and volunteer with NCF to see how the foundation works. She was so inspired that when she got back to her facility, Flynn put together her first charity event at ZMA, Roses for Your Valentine.

“Just to be part of their team and volunteer impressed and moved me,” said Flynn. “Their organization, their enthusiasm and their belief in their cause. It’s everything I wanted to get involved with.”

To make this charity work, Flynn set out to find a wholesale florist to take their flower orders and provide them with vases and the works. With pink and red roses delivered by the dozen, Flynn soon realized she would need a little help from her friends.

“There were so many roses delivered within a short amount of time,” said Flynn. “In fact, we ended up being four dozen short on roses as we were getting everything together Sunday night. The florist felt so bad and was so moved by the cause that he gave us 16 dozen free pink roses.”

Roses for Your Valentine was a huge hit at ZMA, selling over 60 dozen roses and making over $900 in contributions to NCF.

“I just think it’s remarkable that such a great idea stemmed from this incredible woman that just recently got involved with NCF,” said Nash.

Wallace was also excited with the turnout from Roses for Your Valentine.

“This was one of the coolest things that has happened at ZMA in a long time,” said Wallace. “The flowers brought some really big smiles to folks at work.”

Candage was quick to note the astonishing amount of work that everyone put in, especially Flynn.

“Asela really, really put her heart and time into this,” Candage said. “It would have been a big fat, goose egg without her. The whole purpose of this event was to raise money for charity and we’re trying to do that in every way we can.”

He said everyone was happy with the roses they received and they wanted to see more. They are hoping to have this charity again on Mother’s Day and maybe even St. Patrick's Day.

This proves that NCF is not only a charity that helps the needy, but it also inspires people to get involved in ways they never imagined.

“I am learning that some of the greatest rewards of being involved in NCF are meeting and getting to know some of the most generous people on the planet,” said Flynn. “Life is just sweeter when you know that those kind of people still are actually in abundance.”

Special thanks: We would like to thank all those who contributed their effort and understanding, as without them, this first time project would not have run so smoothly. Controllers, personal friends and ZMA management officials all worked together recognizing that their efforts would serve others in need. Santiago Garcia, Diana Wagner, Johnny Cox, Brian Flynn, Randy Artis, Randy and Angie Levangie, Andre Ferguson, Abe Tejada, Kyle Collins, Pete Gullo, Mitch Banks, Mark Rios and staff for providing space for storage, our personal friends who gathered on Sunday evening to put the arrangements together, our peers who worked harder so we could make deliveries, our wholesaler, Rene, and of course Steve Wallace and Elena Nash. A huge thanks must be given to those of you who purchased the roses. Your generosity is duly noted and will be used to aid many in need under the NCF charity groups.

NCF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, all volunteer organization, helping to make a difference to the under-served expanding across the country. NCF is NATCA's charity of Choice, and involved in several fund-raising events, including one at the upcoming NATCA Denver Convention 2012. To find out more about how you can help and donate to NCF, visit their Web site at