It has been really gratifying to see the increase in new and reinstated memberships from EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, this summer and the AOPA Summit in Ft. Worth, Texas, in October. Meeting new members and hearing their stories is actually very exciting for me. Not only does it bring back memories of my own training and memorable flights, it makes me want to get out and fly even more.
A great part of the increase in Associate membership, however, has been due to the new Fly Now award program from the Amelia Earhart Memorial Scholarship Fund. The increase in the number of awards available and the fact they are given twice per year has really caught the attention of potential women pilots from all over. With 51 applicants for the first round of awards, nine of whom received them, it looks like the new program will be a big success. We hope those not selected on this round will try again next March. We
only wish we could award a scholarship to each applicant.
The success of this program might serve as inspiration to our Chapters and Sections to create or step up their own scholarship award(s) in their local areas. We know that with the higher cost of training, fuel and airplane rentals, the need for funds at every level is greater than ever. For more information on creating scholarships, you can refer to the Chapter Chairman’s Manual, which can be printed out from the Library section of the Members Only part of The 99s website.
In September at the Fall Southwest Section Meeting, a memorial marker was dedicated at the gravesite of Opal Kunz in Auburn, California. Opal was the acting President of The 99s prior to holding actual elections in 1931 when Amelia Earhart became our first elected President. Opal was involved in the 1929 Women’s Air Derby and handled much of the organization for the budding “club.” Her husband was a vice president at Tiffany’s in New York, and Tiffany’s designed our interlocking 99s logo.
After discovering that Opal was buried in an unmarked grave in Auburn, Southwest Section Governor Penny Nagy issued a challenge to members at the Spring Section Meeting to raise enough money to properly memorialize Opal. Section members and others more than met the challenge. For more information on this story of 99s honoring the memory of one of our Charter members, go to
http://www.sws99s.org/pdf/SouthwesterlyJun2013.pdf, which gives background on Opal along with links to other information about her. I guarantee you will enjoy them. To read a follow-up article written by a local
newspaper, go to http://www.sws99s.org/pdf/Southwesterly2013-09.pdf and check out page 8.
It is hard to believe that the end of another year is upon us. For many of our members it also means a season of holidays. It is a time of year for giving thanks for all we have and the people we love. We should also be thanking all the members of The Ninety-Nines who give so selflessly to this organization. From those who form and support our Chapters and Sections, to the International officers, Board members, Committee Chairmen and Trustees of our museums and funds, our sincere thanks for your time, talent and dedication that make this such a wonderful organization.
|Ninety-Nines and guests at the dedication of the memorial marker for Opal Kunz in Auburn, California.|
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