|Friends surprised Randy Morris by purchasing a brick in Morris’ name for the Brown Arch project.
Friends tease Randy Morris that EAA AirVenture Oshkosh won’t start until he arrives. So it’s appropriate that those same friends purchased a brick in Morris’ name for the Brown Arch project, allowing Morris to be at AirVenture year-round, at least in name.
Mike Norton, of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, helped coordinate the surprise presentation. He said the idea to purchase a brick in tribute of Morris hatched last AirVenture when he and others happened to walk by the arch as bricks were being unveiled. “Knowing how much Randy loves Oshkosh because he’s been here so many years, we approached our EAA chapter with the idea of honoring him as a friend, a fellow pilot, a mentor, and as a general good guy.”
2011 is Morris’ 40th consecutive AirVenture. That’s particularly impressive since when he was stationed in Germany for the U.S. Army, he applied for leave and managed to come home three times to attend Oshkosh. In addition, he’s volunteered all of those years in aircraft registration or homebuilt.
Chapter members chipped in for the brick, which features a picture of Morris’ prized Champ. The brick was unveiled to Morris on Monday by chapter members, as well as his son and grandson.
Morris’ entire life has revolved around aviation. Morris, 75, said he has been flying since 1952 and has logged more than 12,000 hours. In 2010, he received the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award.
He also is an A&P mechanic and inspector, tech counselor, flight adviser, owner of the Vine Grove Airport (70KY) in north-central Kentucky, and a charter member and officer of EAA Chapter 657 for more than three decades.
“He’s at the airport 24-7…and he’s always there to answer everyone’s questions or help with anything,” Norton said. “He knows every pilot personally, and he’s just a mentor and friend to everyone.”
Morris said he became interested in aviation, when as a teenager, someone brought in a Continental 65 oil tank to be welded at the shop he was working at. Morris, then 14, welded the kidney-shaped tank and instead of payment asked for an airplane ride.
But it’s not the airplanes that keep him coming back to AirVenture year after year. “Sure, I like to see the air shows,” he said, “but it’s the people I’ve met at Oshkosh that keep me coming back."