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2017 Volunteers of the Year Announced

Winners will be honored at Volunteer Park

July 22, 2017 - The 2017 Volunteers of the Year have been announced, and as always, some of the best parts of EAA are present in the winners. There are five award recipients this year: Kirk E. Fjetland, Sandy Marsh, Don and Joanie Moder, Barry Valentine, and Alan White.

Kirk, EAA 867374, is the president of Chapter 237 and has led the restoration of the EAA B-25 project. In his five-plus years of volunteering, Kirk has helped out at AirVenture, EAA headquarters, within his chapter, and with the EAA AirCam build, too.

“I don’t know what to say. You don’t do it for the awards or the recognition; you do it because it’s fun,” Kirk said. “This whole thing wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t have such a great chapter with great people in it.”

In addition to bringing his own chapter to help out with projects, Kirk has also organized multi-chapter work parties, combining multiple EAA chapters to work together to get what needs to get done, done. Kirk also organizes airport tours and aviation briefings for local schools.

Sandy, EAA 274927, has helped out with various chapter activities and at AirVenture for more than four decades.  EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2017 will be her last year as chairwoman of the Activities Center, although she plans to continue volunteering for the foreseeable future.

“I feel honored, humbled, and like I really need to share this with all the volunteers,” Sandy said.

“It’s not just me, but everyone who’s gone before us who make this convention what it is. It’s pretty amazing when I think about all the volunteers there are.”

In addition to her chairwoman position, during her time at AirVenture, Sandy has also volunteered with Operation Thirst, Outdoor Exhibits, South Maintenance, Convention Headquarters, and pitched in wherever else help was needed.

Don, EAA 432323, and Joanie have spent more than three decades volunteering at AirVenture and EAA headquarters. Don and Joanie have moved around to help out across multiple areas in their time volunteering, with Don assisting at the Weeks Hangar and the maintenance department, and Joanie helping at the volunteer kitchen, aircraft showplane registration, and in the Wearhouse.

“I feel very honored, but undeserving,” Joanie said. “There are so many people here that have done a lot of work, too, and obviously there aren’t enough years to recognize everybody.”

This isn’t the first time Don and Joanie have been recognized for their tireless work, either, as they received the Henry Kimberly Spirit of Leadership Award for the work they’ve done to make Oshkosh what it is.

Barry, EAA Lifetime 151943, is a former FAA acting administrator who now volunteers with EAA’s Government Host team. Barry’s EAA work includes hosting important policymakers during their stays at AirVenture, including the prime minister of Malaysia as well as several influential American government employees.

“I’m delighted that I’m being honored with the award,” Barry said. “Being an EAA volunteer has been one of my passions for a very long time. It is one of the things I look forward to every year, not just going to AirVenture but being involved with the Government Host committee. It’s a great, great group of people.”

After nearly two decades of volunteering with and chairing the Government Host team, there’s no telling exactly how much of an impact Barry has had on EAA, but it’s likely been a large one.

Alan, EAA Lifetime 60137, has been an EAA member since 1971. He’s served as president and in several other capacities at Chapter 272, continues to be active in fundraising efforts, provides maintenance and inspection services, and has flown more than 700 Young Eagles flights.

“I feel humbled,” Alan said. “I don’t feel that I work any harder or anything than anybody else who volunteers down there. My AirVenture experience now is the volunteer effort. I will go to one of the night air shows, but the rest of it is I’m busy at KidVenture and all the other various chapter or Young Eagles activities that are going on.”

Alan has volunteered at Oshkosh since 1971 and continues to do so, most recently at KidVenture. He donates at least 700 hours of his time each year to EAA in various different ways, all of them benefitting the organization and its members.

All of this year’s Volunteer of the Year award recipients will be honored in the Volunteer Park Sunday, July 23, at 3 p.m.

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