volunteering in the carpentry shop are Gordon Haggard, Bob
Kunkel and James Cobb.
In the past, volunteer carpenter Gordon
Haggard would arrive before AirVenture Oshkosh along with his wife,
Louise, from Wauchula, Florida. He would hammer, cut, and drill to
prepare for the convention and she would volunteer in the EAA Wearhouse.
But with his wife's death, this year Haggard's brother-in-law, James
Cobb, of Claremore, Oklahoma, and friend Bob Kunkel, of Middleton,
Wisconsin, have joined him. The three are helping out with maintenance
in the carpentry shop.
While he enjoys the planes, Haggard says
he really comes for the people. Cobb agrees. "People who fly …
are the most fun people to be around," he said.
Coming to Oshkosh is almost like going to
a family reunion. "I have so many friends who are like an extended
family," Haggard said. "And each has so much talent to
Kunkel is one of those friends. "A
lot of what we do is maintenance or preventive maintenance," he
said. "There is a huge number of buildings on the grounds, and a
huge number that need repairs when weather gets to them."
Plus, the group does new construction
like building a new interview room at the Communications Center, or
helping to renovate shower buildings. While most of their work must be
done before the convention begins, it's not unusual for volunteers to
take on a different role once preparations are complete.
"Usually when I'm done working here,
my wife and I would work in the homebuilders gift shop," Haggard
said. And Kunkel's wife, Carrol, helps at Membership Services.
But Kunkel thinks he has the most fun
convention job-hosting government officials. In the past that has
included governors, congressmen, even Russian officials and astronaut
Jim Lovell and his wife, Marilyn.
"The highlight of my volunteering
has to be hosting Jim Lovell," he said. "Jim is a great
storyteller. But I spent a lot of time talking to his wife after I would
drop him off to speak. I even took her shopping …"