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EAA Volunteers - The Neunteufel Family
By Katie Holliday, EAA 1163276
April 6, 2016
EAA would be nowhere without its volunteers. In honor of National Volunteer Month, we are highlighting some of EAA’s amazing volunteers.
For EAAers the world over, Oshkosh is synonymous with EAA and AirVenture, but for Dolores Neunteufel and her family it started in Rockford, Illinois, in 1961. Dolores and her husband, Al, brought their kids to AirVenture from the beginning.
“Where we went they had to go so they learned all about it in a short period of time,” Dolores said smiling.
Her son, Ken, reiterated that sentiment saying with a grin that he and his siblings were “roped into” volunteering starting in camper registration. “The kids always got the night shift,” he said. “It was just run and do. Help do this and have fun at the same time. It wasn’t a minute that we weren’t doing something.” Ken said that in early years he also helped his dad down on the flightline.
Things have slowed down somewhat for Dolores who is now chairwoman of the Assistance Center where her daughter Luci Whanger, Ken, and his daughter Jennifer Hantosh also volunteer in addition to helping with odds and ends elsewhere when needed. “We’ve gotten to know Steve Taylor so we help out with South Maintenance, too,” Jennifer said.
Friends are of great importance for this family of volunteers; Dolores and Ken said that’s a big part of what keeps them coming back. “Good times at the campfire, that kind of thing at the end of the day,” Ken said. “The combination of everybody—the chapter all being together.”
Dolores, Ken, and Jennifer are members of EAA Chapter 101 in Addison, Illinois. The chapter started in 1961 with only 11 members, among them Dolores and Al who held meetings in their home until 1962.
Now, after more than 50 years of volunteering, the Neunteufels remain dedicated. Ken emphasized that they come to AirVenture every year driving from Illinois; Luci and her family come from Missouri. In addition to the family tradition aspect, Dolores said she enjoys the work she does in the Assistance Center, which is in part a will-call window for pre-ordered wristbands and also where visitors go to ask questions. “Doing this where we help out,” she said, “helping them solve their problems is the good part.”
The convention has changed venues, and states, but the family still makes the trek to visit and volunteer. “We camp in the same site every year, and up and down the road it’s always the same people so it’s like a reunion,” Jennifer said.
And much like a family reunion, Ken said nights in Camp Scholler are about fun times. “It’s just horsing around and good times at the campfire, that kind of thing at the end of the day,” he said, adding that for the Neunteufels AirVenture is a family tradition. And that, Dolores said, is the key to getting kids involved: start early and make it a family affair.
To learn more about EAA’s volunteer opportunities, please visit our website.