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2008 Hall of Fame Recipient

Delford M. Smith - Owner and Founder
Evergreen International Aviation, Inc. 

Delford M. SmithDelford “Del” M. Smith is being recognized for his innovative leadership in the aviation industry and for his humanitarian and relief projects worldwide. Mr. Smith is the owner and founder of Evergreen International Aviation, which he began 47 years ago with the idea that aircraft could be used as angels of mercy as well as industrial work horses. He has built his company into one of the most diversified aviation business in the world. Growing up in Centralia, Washington, Mr. Smith gained his strong work ethic and leadership skills through hard work and overcoming adversity at a very young age. 

Headquartered in McMinnville, Oregon, Evergreen employs more than 4,500 people, has 100 bases worldwide and provides total aviation capabilities through its subsidiaries: Evergreen International Airlines operates and maintains a fleet of Boeing 747 freighter aircraft, including Boeing’s modified 747-400 LCF “Dreamlifter” aircraft for the 787 Dreamliner project; Evergreen Helicopters, one of the world’s most diversified rotor-wing operators; Evergreen Ground Logistics Enterprises which provides full service ground handling and express logistics; Evergreen Trade which specializes in matching machines to missions; The Evergreen Maintenance Center; Evergreen Systems Logistics; Evergreen Agricultural Enterprises; Evergreen Defense and Security Services and, Evergreen Supertanker Services which provides Boeing 747 retrofitted to carry more than 20,000 gallons of water or fire retardant to fight fires. 

Inspired by his late son Captain Michael King Smith’s vision and love for aviation, Mr. Smith built the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, which houses such aircraft as the Howard Hughes “Spruce Goose” and more than 80 historic aircraft and space exhibits. The museum has hosted over a million guests from around the world and is located at 500 NE Capt. Michael King Smith Way, McMinnville, Oregon.

In addition, Mr. Smith founded Evergreen Humanitarian and Relief Services, Inc. to support local and international relief projects, and The Michael King Smith Kid’s Fund, offering low interest loans to children with entrepreneurial dreams. 

Mr. Smith started his company after graduating from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Science degree and top honors as a distinguished military student in the Air Force Reserve Officer’s Training. He went on to earn honorary Doctor of Aeronautical Science and Doctor of Business Administration degrees from Salem College in West Virginia and Johnson and Wales College in Rhode Island, respectively. He served in the U.S. Air Force and was a commercial airplane and helicopter pilot for many years. 

He has received numerous awards for his accomplishments in the aviation industry and  for his continued support to humanitarian efforts and community leadership. The Horatio Alger Award for Distinguished Americans; The Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy; The Napoleon Hill Gold Medal Award of Entrepreneurial Achievement; The Helicopter Association International Lawrence D. Bell Memorial Award; Professional Pilot Aviation’s Humanitarian of the Year Award; and The National Transportation Award. These are just a few of the many awards he received. 

In his own words, Mr. Smith often says that “God gave us the gift of life, so we owe God our best performance.”   His performance is being honored this evening.