EAA Honors Four Veteran Directors
EAA Directors Emeritus (l to r) Barry Valentine, Bill Eickhoff, Carl Bury, and Bill Gyllenswan.
Director Emeritus Bob Gyllenswan and his wife, Adele.
Director Emeritus Carl Bury and his wife, Sharon.
Director Emeritus Bill Eickhoff and his wife, Suzy.
Director Emeritus Barry Valentine and his wide, Judith.
April 28, 2008 — Four long-serving members of the EAA Board of Directors were accorded "emeritus" status at last weekend's annual spring directors dinner held at EAA headquarters in Oshkosh. They are Bob Gyllenswan, 46 years; Carl Bury, 26 years; Bill Eikhoff, 13 years; and Barry Valentine, 10 years. "Each of these individuals has served EAA for many years and have done so with integrity and high standards," said EAA President Tom Poberezny. "The one common bond they share is serving on the EAA Board, but they've each done so in their own individual way. My hope is that they've gotten a much out of their service as they've given."
Bob, a member of EAA Chapter 22 in Rockford, Illinois, was a driving force behind the first EAA Sweepstakes drawings when the convention was held there.
"Opportunities are seldom," he said to his fellow members and others gathered for the event. "When you have that opportunity; you'd better take advantage. When Paul and Audrey asked me to serve on the board, it was one of the finest things that's ever happened to me." Bob thanked his wife, Adele; "Without her, I wouldn't be here."
He also was grateful to his fellow directors, saying, "Thanks for the years and the friendships. Airplane are airplanes, but it's the people and friends we cherish, and we both thank you."
Carl served as an EAA Aviation Foundation Director for 23 years, plus three years as an EAA Director from the International Aerobatic Club. He was also IAC president for three years - in that capacity, Carl helped establish the World Aerobatic Championships - and vice president for two years. He was also a National Aerobatic Judge and is a Director Emeritus of the IAC. Carl asked the assembled group, "With all the pilots here, what is the identifier for Oshkosh?" After several people said, "OSH," he jokingly corrected them; "No, it's EAA!"
Carl recalled his first visit to Oshkosh back in the early 1970s. "I remember camping with the family under the wing of our airplane, and decided right then to get active in the organization. Who knows, I thought, someday we could get a hotel room."
He closed saying, "To me, Oshkosh means family, flying, but the total part of the organization and friends that we can never forget. Oshkosh, Family, Culture, EAA, and IAC.
Bill fulfilled a dual role as an EAA Board member and as Chairman of the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In at Lakeland, Florida. Bill has enjoyed over 30 years of volunteer service to Sun 'n Fun organizations and has played several roles over the years during the event and organization's development. He's served as president of the Fly-In and Museum; as an officer, director and chairman. An active EAA member, he has served as a director of the Vintage Aircraft Association and is a member of EAA Chapter 47 and the Florida Sport Aviation Antique/Classic Association.
"EAA has meant so much to our family," he said. "Over the years the enjoyment of EAA and Sun 'n Fun have enriched all of our lives, and we're looking forward to more memories."
Barry has more than 40 years experience in aviation, which includes serving as acting FAA Administrator as well as Assistant Administrator for Policy, Planning and International Aviation. His 3,000 hours flying for the United States Air Force (1,000 combat hours) earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross. Barry was also the director of the Portland (Maine) International Jetport and the Director of Aeronautics for the Maine Department of Transportation.
"Barry enhanced our advocacy efforts, brought expertise, credibility and credentials," Tom Poberezny said. "He raised the bar, been a great contributor providing guidance and counsel to EAA."
Barry told a story about when he was courting his future bride, Judith. When it appeared that things were getting serious, he said to her, "There's something you need to know; every year in late July I disappear into the cornfields of Wisconsin, and I intend to do so every year of my life."
"She said to 'go for it,'" Barry said, "And I intend to come here every year for the rest of my life."
Interestingly, Barry revealed that he and Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe share the distinction of having attended every annual Oshkosh since 1977, and that 2008 will be No. 29 in-a-row. "We both said we'd be back every year," he said. "It's the most wonderful event on the planet, and I am honored to have been a part of it all these years. And I have truly been honored to serve on the board."
Of the newly christened Directors Emeritus, Poberezny said, "You can't be in any better company." He also alluded to potential further roles for the esteemed members. "Your job is not done; it's just transferred to other activities. Your experience cannot be lost."
Two other long-serving directors, Vern Jobst and John Parrish, Sr., were unable to attend and will be honored at a future Board of Directors meeting. In addition, Poberezny announced that at this year's fall board meeting that Camp Scholler would be rededicated in honor of Ray Scholler, the longest-serving director (55 years).