You two are the masters of organization and finding space. I need the Susan Wallen photo and these two photos in the column. If we could put a photo of Bliss Teague as well it would be great. If not I understand. Thanks!
Relationships count! We certainly appreciate the EAA lending the support of its 180,000 members in its response to the FAA’s Interpretive Rule. EAA called for the FAA follow the plainly intended spirit and intent of Public Law 112-95, Sec 336(a), and refrain from imposing any regulations on operators of model aircraft or the model aircraft themselves, even if those regulations otherwise apply to “all aircraft.” Thank you, EAA!
I was honored to be asked to represent AMA in presenting the AMA Distinguished Service Award to Susan Wallen, wife of former District IX VP Jim Wallen, who passed away earlier this year. Tom Neff, District IX associate vice president (AVP) and Norman Berger, AVP and CD of the event, did a great job in putting this together as part of the Jim Wallen Vintage Fun-Fly in Denver.
The event was held at the Arvada Associated Modelers Flying Park. District VIII Vice President (VP) Mark Johnston came from New Mexico to participate. The award presentation was an emotional one with Susan Wallen and family in attendance. Tom and Travis McGinnis provided testimony of Jim’s life, and I also spoke of Jim’s contributions to AMA during his tenure on the Executive Council (EC). I presented the award to a tearful Susan. The family was appreciative of this recognition of their father.
I am also saddened by the passing of Bliss Teague, former District IV vice president. Bliss served on the EC for 12 years and oversaw the design and building of the Claude McCullough Educational Center which is part of the National Model Aviation Museum.
Bliss was from Hickory, North Carolina, and a southern gentleman in the truest sense. He was a person we can all aspire to be. His wife Shirley traveled with him everywhere. Bliss and his AVPs provided the AMA tent at Joe Nall and Shirley baked and brought many dozens of cookies for everyone. Bliss was a friend and a voice of reason on the EC. He will be missed by everyone that knew him—especially me.
On September 13, District II VP Eric Williams invited 94-year-old George Watson Sr. to travel to the Northeast Electric Aircraft Technology (NEAT) Fair in Downsville, New York. George Watson is one of the few remaining Tuskegee survivors, and he came to NEAT thanks to his grandson Bryce. Bryce is a United Airlines Captain, flying 747s.
We used the large tent provided by the Bergen County Modelers and people stood outside the tent in the rain to listen. Eric introduced George and Bryce, both of whom are AMA members, and Bryce spoke about how model aviation influenced his career path.
George briefly spoke about his experience being a Tuskegee Airman Ground support soldier. Both were given a standing ovation. I spoke with Bryce and learned that although he is stationed in Los Angeles, he frequently travels to New Jersey to fly models with his grandfather.
Bryce sent two booklets, Memorable Memoirs and A Salute to the Beginning, written by George, together with two photos, one showing President George Bush saluting George, and a second with the Tuskegee Airmen together with George and Laura Bush at the White House.
George was also invited to the first inauguration of Barrack Obama and is included in the commemorative edition book. I will bring these documents to the National Model Aviation Museum so our members can enjoy this history.
I thanked George for his generous gift and he thanked AMA for everything we have done for model aviation. George and Bryce, thank you for being great Americans, AMA members, and a real class act!
The Silent Electric Flyers of Long Island (SEFLI) celebrated its 15th year hosting the NEAT Fair with Tom Hunt at the helm. This event draws thousands of electric buffs each year. This year SEFLI was recognized by Eric Williams and District II, along with AMA, and I presented the AMA Award of Excellence to the entire club.
It was a privilege to be there and watch the SEFLI club work to make this big show fun for everyone. It is also great to see old friends and meet new ones. As I’ve said about Joe Nall and Top Gun, if you haven’t been, this is a bucket-list event.
Happy holidays to everyone. I hope that your stocking is filled with terrific modeling gifts.
In this season of giving, please consider a donation to AMA. We are your voice of freedom and independence and we certainly appreciate any and all support!
Until next time, please help to guarantee our future, and take a youngster flying!