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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS Feed 'Family' Keeps Volunteer Coming Back for 35 Years

Avidyne
Sandy Marsh, EAA volunteer, received the Dorothy Hilbert Volunteer Award. Photo by Mariano Rosales

Sandy Marsh said she was shy and quiet while attending her first EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in 1975.

But that changed the following year when she decided to get involved.

Marsh is celebrating 35 years of volunteering at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2011 and will be recognized with the Dorothy Hilbert Volunteer Award at the Theater in the Woods. The award recognizes a female EAA volunteer who exhibits the same passion, dedication, and devotion for volunteerism as did the late Dorothy Hilbert.

As a volunteer since 1976, Marsh has volunteered at many areas throughout AirVenture. She started in the Women’s Activities Center, now the Activities Center. But she also has helped at Operation Thirst, Outdoor Exhibits, South Maintenance, Ambassadors, which is now the CARTS program, and Convention Headquarters. In addition, she has volunteered at Sun ’n Fun for 10 years.

What keeps her coming back?

“The volunteers,” she said. “They have become my family. This is such a neat organization, and the friendships you make are just phenomenal.”

After her mother died, one volunteer drove more than 200 miles to come to the funeral, she said. “The number of flowers and cards sent—from both EAA volunteers and EAA staff—wowed me. This is what I mean by family.”

While she has volunteered in many areas, the bulk of her time has been spent in the Activities Center, where she is now chairwoman. As chair, Marsh coordinates the volunteers, makes sure things are set up, and answers lot of questions since the center includes aircraft greeting, crafts, hospitality, and the flying cinema. It also offers aerobics and yoga classes.

Once her husband, Larry, saw how much fun she was having volunteering, he started helping, too. He volunteers in South Maintenance.

It’s no surprise what advice she gives other AirVenture attendees. “If you’ve never volunteered, please do. It can be a very fun and eye-opening experience. The amount of knowledge that EAA volunteers have is impressive. You can be working next to someone who is a president of a Fortune 500 company or a surgeon at a big hospital. Yet, they all have the same objective: the AirVenture event.”

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