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Brown Arch Brick Award Winners Announced

Doreen Hillard, Steve Buss, Wayne Ray to be honored

By Ti Windisch

July 27, 2017 - Each volunteer who helps make EAA AirVenture Oshkosh the unique celebration of aviation it is deserves thanks, but the Brown Arch Brick awards exist to give extra special attention to a few folks who go above and beyond the call of duty.

This year’s trio of winners are Steve Buss, Doreen Hillard, and Wayne Ray.

Doreen, EAA 11986, volunteers with air operations, assisting EAA Director of Air Show Operations Dennis Dunbar, to make sure the air shows go off without a hitch. 

“It’s something that’s in all of our blood, and something I knew I would be a part of my whole life,” Doreen said. “You believe so much in the mission, and the volunteer spirit, that you don’t need any reward. To be involved in something so amazing is the reward, even if it’s a little part.”

Working with her team in air operations and making dreams come true for Make-A-Wish children have been some of Doreen’s favorite parts of her work at AirVenture over the years.

Steve, EAA 317080, is also known as “The Voice of EAA.” He’s a dedicated volunteer who serves as the air show announcer during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. Steve’s voice has been the backdrop to some incredible aerial performances over the years, and his Brown Arch Brick is proof of how important his contributions have been to EAA.

“At first I thought it was a mistake,” Steve said. “I got the letter from Jack, and I had no idea what was inside. After the shock wore off, I felt really humbled to have been selected among the great group of volunteers who have been working for years and years.”

Although he’s seen many remarkable air shows during his time at AirVenture, Steve said it is the people he gets to talk to, especially the veterans, that makes volunteering particularly special to him.

Wayne, EAA 352061, is chairman of the workshops area at Oshkosh. His work in the Builders Education Center helps thousands of homebuilders get closer to accomplishing their dream of building and flying their own airplane.

“A young couple came to our building and was asking us building questions one year,” he reminisced. “The next year they came back and said we have a kit, and we are starting to build. The third year they came back and said we are almost completed. That inspires you, watching someone go from zero to almost completing an airplane.”

Wayne has now spent 17 years volunteering at AirVenture. He first arrived to learn how to build his own airplane. The satisfaction of helping others do the same keeps him coming back, year after year.

The winners will be presented with the Brown Arch Brick awards today at 9 a.m. near the titular Brown Arch.

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