For his efforts to preserve Smith Air Field and help persons dealing with drug addiction, Robert “Bob” Wearley was presented with the 2018 Linda & Jerry Vandeveer Impact Award today by the Allen County Commissioners.
The ceremony was held at the airfield’s Hangar 2, which Wearley hopes some day to have transformed into a national air mail museum. He is currently working with Congressman Jim Banks and Senators Joe Donnelly and Todd Young to obtain funding for a feasibility study.
“Bob is a community advocate who has worked tirelessly to keep Smith Field open,” Commissioner Nelson Peters said in his introduction of Wearley. “He has also assisted in strengthening the Allen County Jail ministry and continues to fight for those who have succumbed to drug addiction.”
Wearley, an Allen County native, retired from the Air Force after 17 years as a lieutenant colonel. His aviation career included a nine-year stint as chief pilot for Howard Hughes and he has piloted 747’s for two different airlines. Wearley also served on the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority’s board of directors and spent five years as marketing director for Fort Wayne International Airport. In addition, Wearley serves as president of the Allen County Jail Chaplaincy and is a board member of Faith Based Mentoring Ministries.
Wearley received a personal plaque and his name was included on a permanent plaque that is kept in the commissioners’ office. He also received a $250 check from Fire-Police City-County Federal Credit Union which is handling a special account established by an anonymous donor for recipients of the award. Wearley said he will donate the money to the jail chaplaincy program and the national air mail museum project.
The commissioners announced establishment of the award in 2016 to be presented annually to an individual or individuals who reside in Allen County and have lived a life of service to our community outside of their regular profession in the example and tradition set by the Vandeveers.