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Volunteer Passion at AirVenture Oshkosh
By Ginny Largent, EAA #575325, Volunteer Advisory Committee
I had a different AirVenture experience this year as the result of being a member of the Volunteer Advisory Committee. Usually, I spend my week volunteering, meeting up with old friends that I only see once a year and enjoying the many aspects of the convention. This year, I spent several days going around and talking mostly with volunteer Chairs within several areas throughout the grounds. These volunteers have come to Oshkosh from all over the United States, most driving in rather than flying in. They bring their children, their spouses and even their parents!
Here’s what I found out: Many of these volunteers have been coming for 35-40 years. Many started as children who came with their parents and today, they continue where their parents left off. These volunteers come early and leave late. They scrub floors, do set up and tear down, build things and make modifications to make their work areas better. I observed many volunteers doing their jobs, often in buildings without windows so they couldn’t even see an aircraft or an air show performance, or in remote locations where they singly manned their station.
When interviewing these folks, I expected to hear about was their love of aviation. Mostly, however, I heard about their love of EAA and how they want to help other volunteers and the public enjoy the AirVenture experience. Paul Poberezny said, “I am a millionaire…I have a million friends.” Our volunteers come every year not necessarily to see the aircraft and air shows, but to reunite with their million friends while working in a windowless room or in the heat for a week doing jobs they love so others who come to Oshkosh can fulfill their love for aviation. These people from all walks of life serve so other volunteers and visitors can have a memorable experience at this aviation mecca.
What I saw in these volunteers was passion. Yes, partly a passion for aviation, but more, a passion for EAA.