By C.L. Smith


POPLAR GROVE – AIR-ONE, an aeronautical search and rescue organization based in Poplar Grove, received a $10,000 check on Thursday, Dec. 17, at the Vintage Wheels and Wings Museum.

Belvidere Police Chief Jan Noble and Chief Deputy at the Boone County Sheriff’s Office Mark Pollock presented the check to AIR-ONE Governing Board President Joel Brumlik on behalf of Boone County Crime Stoppers. This marks the third time AIR-ONE has received this contribution.

AIR-ONE supports first-responder agencies with helicopter air support for search and rescue, disaster relief, and numerous other missions. They primarily service northern Illinois with four airport based facilities in Freeport, Rockford, Waukegan, and Chicago, though they are equipped to respond anywhere in Illinois. They are also an Illinois Terrorism Task Force Membered Agency.

Prior to October 2015, AIR-ONE was a private non-profit organization, which meant they did not qualify for federal grant funding.

AIR-ONE Governing Board Secretary Michael Bitton said that before becoming a public non-profit, money was a little harder to obtain for their organization.

“Like many non-profits, we did anything and everything we could to raise money. Bake sales, raffles, donations, stuff like that. If it raised money, we did it,” Bitton, said.

The shift from private to public non-profit has allowed the agency to breathe a collective sigh of relief by being able to focus more on improving response time, equipment maintenance, and training, instead of exhausting resources trying to raise money in the community.

The $10,000 check presented to AIR-ONE is special, according to Jan Noble.

“Every dollar of this donation comes from defendants who went through the criminal system in Boone County and had to pay a modest Crime Stopper fee,” Chief Noble said.

Bitton said that the money would be great for the organizations’ many expenses. He said the money would be used for insurance, maintenance, and fuel for the fleet, while emphasizing none of the money would be for personnel.

Beyond public donations such as this, AIR-ONE receives the bulk of their funding from federal grants via the Department of Homeland Security, with advisement on allocation, administration, and management coming from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and Western Illinois University.

Additional revenues are received from corporate and private contributions and donations.

For more information on AIR-ONE, or how you could volunteer, visit:

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