The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force celebrated its 36th annual Volunteer Appreciation Banquet April 13 during which 566 volunteers were honored.
Richard Isaacks of Xenia, Ohio, was selected as the Museum Volunteer of the Year for 2017 for his dedication and excellence in serving the museum and the U.S. Air Force.
Nominated by the Restoration Division, Isaacks was commended for providing the services of an upholsterer, welder, woodworker and sheet metal fabricator. Among his many accomplishments, Isaacks designed and built jack stands for the V-22 Osprey, fabricated the crew seat cushions for the XC-142A and he designed and built a better seat cushion for the museum’s F-16 cockpit simulator to enhance the visitor experience.
Isaacks devoted many hours toward completing projects for the B-17F Memphis Belle to meet the deadline to move the aircraft to the World War II Gallery in preparation for the exhibit opening. These projects included sewing together the canvas covers for control columns, rudder and vertical control surfaces, as well as using original Boeing drawings to fabricate a tail wheel cover.
Other Volunteer of the Year nominees included Charlie Cooper (Research Division); Jim Flesher (Control Tower and Nissen Hut); Robert Fluck (Special Events Division); Jack Hampshire (Operations Division); Janet Johnston (Cold War Gallery); Barry Kolano (Fourth Building and Information Desk); Fred Korner (Early Years and WWII Gallery); Wendell Miller (Volunteer Resources Office); Martha Parker (Officers’ Spouse’s Club); Paul Pleva (Education Division); John Schell (Air Force Museum Foundation); Bill Schulke (Friends Desk); and Bob Wiser (Korea and Southeast Asia War Galleries).
In addition, Museum Director retired Lt. Gen. Jack Hudson introduced a new award this year – the Director’s Volunteer Award. The recipients of this award are selected at the discretion of the director and are considered to be deserving of special recognition. The inaugural recipients of the Director’s Volunteer Award are Bobbette Fluck and Jack Hampshire of Huber Heights, Ohio; and retired Maj. Gen. Charlie Cooper of Centerville, Ohio.
Additionally, 12 volunteers received special recognition by receiving the President’s Volunteer Service Award, which is awarded to those who have completed 4,000 hours or more of volunteer service. Those volunteers included John Bowling; Bob Brant; Ginny Bumgarner; Jon Frank; John Griest; Barry Kolano; Al Majo; Art Powell; Byron Sherwood; Beverly Smith; Tomi Suazo; and Ted Valley.
Mike Fitzsimmons of Laura, Ohio, was recognized for 30 years of service. Jim Flesher of Tipp City, Ohio, and Mark Young of Fraziers Bottom, West Virginia, were both recognized for 35 years of service. Martha Parker and Shirley Smith, both of Centerville, Ohio, were recognized for 40 years of service.
In total, the museum acknowledged 105 volunteers for reaching milestones of 1,000 to 26,000 hours of volunteer service. Overall, volunteers contributed 112,716 hours of service to the museum in 2017, representing more than $2.7 million dollars in assets to the Air Force.
For more information about volunteering at the museum, visit www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/Volunteer.aspx. The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, is the world’s largest military aviation museum. For more information, visit www.nationalmuseum.af.mil.