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Longtime EAA Museum Docent Honored
John Mellberg, EAA 109395, of Menasha, Wisconsin, was recognized on November 10 for his contributions and volunteer service to EAA, as he received the Henry Kimberly Spirit of Leadership Award during the EAA Halls of Fame banquet at the EAA Aviation Center in Oshkosh.
The award is named for the late Henry Kimberly, a longtime Oshkosh civic leader who was instrumental in building community support for EAA when the fly-in arrived in Oshkosh in 1970, and later in the move of EAA headquarters to Oshkosh in the early 1980s.
Mellberg was recognized for his efforts in support of exhibits within the EAA Aviation Museum. He built over 17 years, then donated a 1:36-scale “giant miniature” model of the D-LZ 130 Graf Zeppelin II that is on display over the museum’s main floor, along with a 1:250 scale model of the D-LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin. Mellberg also donated Zeppelin china that was flown on both of the actual Zeppelins and two rare Baitz dolls that accompanied the Graf Zeppelin’s 1929 around-the world flight. In addition to his contributions to the Zeppelin exhibit, Mellberg donated items to the one-of-a-kind 1938 Bugatti Model 100 exhibit, including a rare set of blueprints acquired from the family of a Bugatti collector in Great Britain.
Mellberg has also been a member of EAA’s volunteer museum docent team since 2015, leading museum tours, giving presentations on the Graf Zeppelin and Bugatti, and assisting museum visitors from around the world.
“John is a passionate historian and a wealth of knowledge about aviation history, which he shares with our visitors year-round at the museum,” said Jack Pelton, CEO and chairman of the board, who presented the award at a dinner in the EAA Aviation Museum’s Eagle Hangar. “He is an outstanding example of our volunteers from the Oshkosh area who make EAA a destination for aviation enthusiasts from all parts of the globe.”
Along with announcing the Henry Kimberly Award that recognizes Oshkosh-area volunteers, the November 10 program inducted five aviators into the EAA Halls of Fame. They included aviation enthusiasts from diverse aircraft areas that encompass homebuilt, vintage, warbird, ultralight, and aerobatic aircraft.