SUMMIT COUNTY, Ohio — Kent State Airport is home to the university's accredited and honored aviation program, which produces the next generation of pilots and aeronautical specialists.
But with so many emphasis on the science of soaring, you might not realize how staying grounded makes this program unique, too.
"The airport is a reflection of the community. And we're all supporting a project that is of value to the greater good of this, both Summit and Portage counties," said Dave Poluga who is not only airport manager, he is also a co-founder of Props 4 Paws.
The organization collects food and supplies all year for two animals shelters: Summit County's Humane Society and the APL of Portage County. That's because the airport is in Summit County and the Kent State campus is in Portage County.
The idea for Props 4 Paws came about more than a decade ago -- and surfaced from the place where many great ones originate: Out of the blue air.
"One day I was walking down the ramp to go to an airplane. Dave was walking up the ramp and I said, 'Hey, Dave, we should start that Props 4 Paws program.' And he kept walking and said, 'Yeah, let's do it.' And that was literally the foundation of Props 4 Paws," said co-founder Jim Sebastian, who is also a KSU Aeronautics Program graduate.
Eleven years ago, Props 4 Paws raised 1,200 pounds of food. This year, the goal is about 10,000.
Providing this support gives shelter staff one less thing to worry about. And it gives Props 4 Paws something in return, too.
"It really inspires me to be able to be a part of an organization that's kind of bigger than myself and be able to actually help animals and see that I'm actually impacting them and impacting the community as well," said Props 4 Paws lead volunteer Larissa Sperk, who is also an aeronautical student.
Props 4 Paws biggest fundraiser happens this Saturday at the KSU Aeronautics and Engineering Expo. It's held at the KSU airport from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. They'll be collecting donations, cash or Venmo as well as pet food and supplies. You can also purchase Props 4 Paws merchandise with proceeds going directly to the shelters.
It's also an opportunity to learn more about their mission.
"The more people we get on our side, it's going to be easier to help feed and shelter those animals and them into safe homes," said Matthew Primm, a Props 4 Paws volunteer and flight instructor.
The airport is located at 4020 Kent Road, Stow, OH 44224. Admission is $5 per person and $20 for a family of five or more.
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Editor's note: Video in the player above was originally published in a previous pet story on Aug. 31, 2022.