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The Gathering Raises Nearly $2.4 Million for Youth Education

By Kelly Nelson, EAA Executive Editor

July 27, 2018 - EAA’s signature fundraiser, held annually during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, raised more than $2.4 million Thursday night for the organization’s youth education programs.

The Gathering, held in the EAA Aviation Museum’s Eagle Hangar, celebrated the importance of personal aviation. Four EAA members were also honored for their generous donations of their time, talents, and charitable support to some of EAA’s most notable programs.

Sean D. Tucker, EAA Lifetime 256123, became the sixth chairman of the EAA Young Eagles program in 2013. He has routinely flown a Young Eagle and a volunteer Young Eagles pilot before each of his air show performances across the country and is a tireless promoter of the Young Eagles program, helping to raise thousands of dollars for it along the way.

James C. Ray regularly supported many aviation organizations, including EAA. The construction of the Air Academy Lodge and the success of the Air Academy program were both propelled by James’ contributions.

Clay Lacy, EAA 285436, has supported EAA and its education programs since the late 1980s, including a scholarship program that allows University of North Dakota students to spend a summer in Oshkosh gaining flight experience and serving as Air Academy counselors.

Dave Lau, EAA 138418, has supported EAA through contributions to the development of Compass Hill, the Young Eagles program, exhibit areas in the museum, and flight simulators.

A one-of-a-kind Ford Mustang GT was also auctioned off Thursday evening for more than $400,000. The vehicle, specially designed and built by Ford Motor Company for The Gathering, was inspired by the British Spitfire fighter planes that flew during Operation Goodwood nearly 80 years ago. The high bidder for the vehicle will also receive an all-inclusive package for two to attend the 2018 Ford Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit, Michigan, in August.

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