THE NFFS PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE: May 2007
[Society President Rex Hinson moved that once each quarter, effective with the January issue, a NFFS district vice president would write a column to replace his usual President¹s Column. VPs are rotating this duty on an east-west basis. East District VP Vic Nippert led off in January. After Dave Lacey in this issue will come Bob Hanford (Central District) and Walt Ghio (West District Ed.]
Every organization has a few of them. They organize the church pancake breakfasts, set up the children¹s fair at the elementary school, and plan the senior citizens outing. They are the "Super Volunteers." In modeling we also have such individuals. These individuals keep clubs alive and organize our competitions. A pair who have perhaps done more for free flight on the East Coast and MidAtlantic states are Tom Kerr and Joe Wagner of Chestertown MD. Together they conceived, organized and managed the Eastern States Championships, one of the biggest free-flight contests on the East Coast. Tom and Joe are both in their 70s. Both have been modeling since elementary school and each has been a member of the USA FAI Power Team. During the ¹50s and ¹60s Tom was active in Philadelphia and Joe in New York.
The story of the Eastern States began in the early 1970s as an idea that Tom had after reading an article about the U.S. Free-Flight Champs in California. He thought that something similar could be successful on the East Coast. After talking the idea over with Joe Wagner, who was active in the Brooklyn Skyscrapers, they called various clubs on the East Coast with the idea that each club would sponsor and run a series of events. In addition, through an annual rotation, each club would provide individuals to serve as overall contest director and administrator. The first year Tom was the contest director. In addition, he and Joe, with the help of others, made all the trophies. Joe, representing the Skyscrapers, was the contest CD the second year. Again, Tom made the trophies. Bob Sifleet (then from Baltimore) was the third CD. The system of CD rotation seemed to be on track. But things began to fall apart during the fourth year, when no club volunteered. To keep the contest alive, Tom and Joe took it upon themselves to become co- contest directors/ administrators. They¹ve been doing it ever since.
From its inception, the site for the Eastern States Championships was the U.S. Army¹s Galeville (NY) Auxiliary Air Field. Thanks to the Army¹s cooperation, Galeville had been a model flying site since the late 1960s. This relationship was strengthened in no small measure by a modeling activity report, requested by the Army and then prepared and presented annually by Joe.
But disaster struck in the early 1990s. As a cost-cutting measure, the Army divested itself of the Galeville airfield. The Fish & Wildlife Service assumed control of the site and banned model flying. Since no other suitable sites were available, the Eastern States Champs languished for a few years. Meanwhile, both Kerr and Wagner had retired and moved with their families to Maryland¹s Eastern Shore. Tom was looking for a local test-flying site, and while at a local shopping mall, he spotted an RC model in a pickup truck. Tom met the owner, who was a dairy farmer, and asked if he could fly at the local field. The farmer agreed, and Tom later broached the subject of a possible free-flight contest. The farmer suggested that his own farm at Ingleside MD might be a better choice. After visiting the farm, Tom and Joe resurrected the Eastern States Championships in 1994. It has been held in Maryland for the past 12 years, with Tom and Joe running this event as a team. They have conceived, organized, directed and even obtained the field to run this long-standing contest. And for that deserve the title of "Super Volunteers."
Connie Perry Memorial Award
Following a suggestion by Jean Pailet, the NFFS board of directors has initiated an award to honor the memory of Connie Perry. The award is in the form of a perpetual trophy, onto which the recipient¹s name will be inscribed. An individual plaque will accompany the award. The recipient will be the individual who, in the opinion of the NFFS board of directors, best displays the unselfish modeling spirit of Connie Perry at the Muncie Nats/USOC. The recipient will be selected by the NFFS board and will be recognized at the NFFS Nats banquet the following year.