Ask anyone at SUN ’n FUN about Albert Borchik and a smile immediately comes over their faces, followed by the slight glistening of tears in their eyes. That’s because for the first time in more than two decades, he’s not at the fly-in. He passed away suddenly Jan. 30.
To commemorate his memory, several volunteers gathered at the pond behind the exhibition hangars on Monday and set little rubber ducks afloat.
Ducks were his thing, according to Joyce Sanborn of the Florida Air Museum.
“He loved ducks,” she says. “He’d come in and say good morning, then press a duck into your hand. I have 76 of them.”
“I have 90,” adds Robyn McFarland, SUN ’n FUN’s volunteer coordinator.
The ducks were cherished by those who received them.
“He was loved by everyone and he loved everybody,” notes Sanborn.
As the ducks floated across the pond, Borchik’s fellow volunteers reminisced about the man who meant so much to them.
He retired in 1977 as Chief of Plans, Fighter Test Directorate, Tactical Air Warfare Center, at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.
After his retirement, he served as town manager for Cinco Bayou, Florida, and earned a Ph.D. in Public Administration.
And he began volunteering at SUN ’n FUN. He and his wife, Sally, would volunteer November through April, not only at the fly-in, but also at the museum.
He served as a docent at the museum and especially enjoyed giving tours to schoolchildren
“He was more than happy to show the kids around,” Sanborn says.
He’d often put on his pilot hat and share stories with boys and girls who were active in scouting to help them acquire their aviation merit badges, she notes.
“He was a very special man,” adds McFarland.
The volunteers who floated their ducks on Monday had to scramble to get them out of the pond by mid-afternoon. They were successful in retrieving them all, but some noted that many of the ducks were still drying out as of Tuesday afternoon.
There’s no doubt those ducks will find a place of honor among those volunteers who were lucky enough to serve with Mr. Borchik.