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Poberezny Speaks at Wichita Aero Club Fund-Raiser

EAA helps raise more than $31,000 for aerospace workers

Tom Poberezny
Tom Poberezny addresses the Wichita Aero Club on June 6.

June 11, 2009 — The broad spectrum of aviation was represented at the first-ever Wichita Aero Club Ball held last weekend in Kansas. EAA President and Chairman Tom Poberezny provided the keynote address to about 220 attendees, stressing the four P’s  - Planes, People, Passion, and Participation – and EAA’s year-round outreach to its members and other aviation enthusiasts.

Poberezny, who was introduced by Cessna CEO and President Jack Pelton, showed Oshkosh: The Spirit of Aviation, provided an AirVenture 2009 preview of features and attractions, and later had an opportunity to meet with aviation industry leaders and EAA partners.

The overriding spirit of the night centered on helping out the more than 10,000 aerospace workers who have been laid off in the Wichita, Kansas, area due to the recession. Dave Franson, executive director of the Wichita Aero Club, explained, “The original plan was to hold a black tie ball and present the club’s trophy to a worthy individual. But with the current economic conditions and job losses, we felt it wasn’t a good year to do that.”

Instead, attendees were asked to use the money they would have spent on tuxedos and ball gowns and spend it during the auction of some 50 items. Hence, the first annual event was nicknamed the “No Black Tie” ball. By the end of the evening, nearly $32,000 was raised for the United Way of the Plains to benefit laid-off aerospace workers.

EAA offered a special AirVenture package for the auction and Poberezny kicked things up a notch by adding some special incentives. As bidding wound down to two bidders, Poberezny offered the package to both-effectively doubling the amount raised in support of the fund.

As an inaugural speaker, Tom did a great job and he really pumped up the auction to help benefit the fund,” Franson said.

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