The Kraft family and the New England Patriots Foundation have recognized 17 local volunteers with the "Patriots Difference Maker of the Week Award” throughout the 2021 season. Richard Jacobs from South Dartmouth was selected as a 2021 Patriots Difference Maker of the Week for his commitment to Angel Flight Northeast in December of 2021. As part of this recognition, the Kraft family and the New England Patriots Foundation will make a $5,000 donation to support the nonprofit.

All 17 honorees were celebrated for going above and beyond to support local nonprofit organizations in a virtual ceremony on Tuesday, January 11. It was during this virtual event that Robert Kraft also made a surprise announcement, naming Jacobs as the 2021 Patriots Difference Maker of the Year. As part of this recognition, Angel Flight Northeast will receive a $20,000 donation.

Barbara Sica of Angel Flight Northeast responded to our inquiry with the utmost respect for Jacobs and the organization.

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“We are thrilled that Richard Jacobs of Dartmouth has been recognized by the Patriots Foundation,” Sica said. “Recognitions like this help to spread the word about our vital mission - Free Flights of Hope ~ Transforming Lives. Since 1996, Angel Flight NE has coordinated over 100,000 free flights for patients who have traveled more than 14 million miles. We are able to do this with the generosity of our volunteer pilots, like Richard - and our partnerships with JetBlue and Cape Air.”

Sica stated that the volunteer pilots donate their planes, fuel, time, and most of all, compassion to ensure that distance is never an obstacle for patients to access specialized medical care and treatment.

“We are able to provide our free air transportation services for as long and as often as a patient and families need our help,” Sica said.

According to the Patriots Foundation, Jacobs has been with the organization since its inception, completing more than 800 flights.

“He is always on call and is ready to donate his time, aviation fuel and airplane to help those in need.”

Over the past 25 years, Angel Flight has steadily grown, recruiting hundreds of pilots to support their efforts. Richard has been an instrumental part of that growth and continues to be one of the nonprofit's go-to pilots.

"The last thing they have to worry about is how to get to their treatment," Jacobs said. "To save one life is to save the world."

Jacobs was also featured on ABC News for his work with the organization, helping families navigate difficult times during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can watch the clip below:

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