National Aviation Heritage Alliance honors volunteers, partners

DAYTON, Ohio — The National Aviation Heritage Alliance (NAHA) named Air Force veteran, engineer, entrepreneur and community volunteer Walter Hoy as the winner of the Ivonette Wright Miller Award at its 2013 annual meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 20. NAHA also awarded its Wick Wright Award to Phillip Parker, president and CEO of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, and its PROPS (Partner Recognition of Outstanding Support) Award to Wright “B” Flyer, Inc.

Hoy received the Ivonette Wright Miller Award, named for the niece of Wilbur and Orville Wright, for a broad range of volunteerism, from cooking and serving meals at heritage organization functions to designing and building one-of-a-kind aircraft and equipment for those same organizations. He is a founding member and current chair of the Wright Image Group Inc. and a trustee for Wright “B” Flyer Inc., both NAHA partners.

Besides his aviation heritage activities, Hoy also serves in leadership positions and does hands-on volunteer work for the Gospel Mission, the Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation and the K-12 Gallery for Young People. Hoy’s Air Force career, from 1958 to 1978, included combat duty in Vietnam and aeronautical research at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. He also founded two local companies that were later merged to form Fox Lite Inc.

“The range and depth of his volunteerism is simply stunning and extends far beyond aviation heritage,” said Tim Gaffney, NAHA communications director, who presented the award as chair of the nominating committee.

Parker received the Wick Wright Award, named for the grandnephew of the Wright brothers, for outstanding support of the National Aviation Hall of Fame in early 2012 when the future of its annual enshrinement ceremony in Dayton was in doubt.

“Upon hearing the news, Phil enthusiastically agreed to convene a committee of community leaders to ensure the event did not leave the Birthplace of Aviation. Over the next eight months, Phil personally engaged several individuals, businesses and organizations, obtaining sponsorships and financial support for the event, with the end result another successful enshrinement ceremony in Dayton,” said Tony Perfilio, NAHA chair.

Wright “B” Flyer, an all-volunteer organization, received the PROPS award for supporting a number of NAHA partners, including exhibiting a full-size replica of a Wright “B” Flyer at the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September 2012, which promoted the entire heritage area.

“They were one of the most popular exhibits at the largest manufacturing technology show in North America,” Perfilio said.

Also at the annual meeting, NAHA Executive Director Tony Sculimbrene reviewed the organization’s execution of its strategic plan since 2007 and briefed partners on the beginning of a new strategic planning process.

The planning process will address the Wright Company factory buildings, which are being preserved at the former Delphi Home Avenue automotive manufacturing plant, a 54-acre site in West Dayton that is being developed for new commercial use. Congress has designated the two buildings for addition to the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park. NAHA will study what role it should play in the restoration and future use of the buildings and three adjacent, historic factory buildings.

The National Aviation Heritage Alliance (NAHA) is a private, not-for-profit corporation designated by Congress as the management entity of the National Aviation Heritage Area. NAHA’s vision is to sustain the legacy of the Wright brothers and make the Dayton region the recognized global center of aviation heritage and premier destination for aviation heritage tourism. The National Aviation Heritage Area is one of 49 National Heritage Areas in a program administered by the National Park Service. For more information: AviationHeritageArea.org

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