Rodger May and wife Lisa May, owner of Peter Pan Seafood Co., LLC have donated a Douglas R4D-8Z (Super DC-3) aircraft to support Alaska’s nonprofit VIPER Transitions’ veteran programs.

VIPER Transitions is a nonprofit that helps to bridge a gap between military training and private employment for veterans. VIPER’s mission is to end veteran suicide through the elimination of its main causes: veteran unemployment, underemployment, substance abuse, homelessness, and a fractured support system. The program will use the plane to assist veterans with training in aircraft maintenance and will be used to help fight invasive pike in Southcentral Alaska.

The Douglas R4D-8Z (Super DC-3) donated by the Mays will serve as a teaching platform for VIPER’s Aviation Maintenance Program, allowing veterans to gain necessary skills as an A&P technician while fostering a strong connection with Alaska’s rich military heritage. Participants will receive 12 weeks of training with hands on practical application and will be eligible for guaranteed direct entry to a program with the Aviation Institute of Maintenance or to partner with a VIPER partner to obtain certification.

The VIPER Operation Combat Pike will be assisted through the use of the aircraft to rejuvenate salmon populations impacted by northern pike by taking veterans to fish for the northern pike.

“The work that VIPER is doing for our veterans is incredible and we’re honored to be able to support their mission,” said Rodger May. “As a certified pilot I love the Aviation Maintenance Program and coming from Peter Pan Seafood with my more than 35-year career in the seafood industry, Operation Combat Pike is especially significant to me. Our military veterans have given us so much and I’m glad to be able to give a little back by supporting these programs.”

Michael Paschall is the publisher of the Seward Journal and covers general news topics. He can be reached at news@sewardjournal.com.