Most of the readers of this blog know about EAA (the Experimental Aircraft Association), it's history, and about Oshkosh. Most also know that Paul Poberezny founded the organization in the 1950's, in his basement. Fast forward to the 2011 Sun 'n Fun Fly In, and imagine my surprise when I had the opportunity to meet him while shooting a breakfast for the Women in Aviation International organization. The breakfast was sparsely attended, probably due to the severe storm/tornado that had torn through Lakeland, and the airport grounds, on the previous afternoon. Clean-up operations were still underway, as the plan was to "go on with the show".
Having seen pictures of him in the past, I knew who he was, but had never met him. He and his wife sat at the head table, and enjoyed a quiet breakfast with Dr. Peggy Chabrian, Patty Wagstaff, and a few others.
During remarks, everyone was encouraged to dig out their ticket stubs, received while checking in. Various numbers were called out, and just about everybody won a prize, including Paul. Each prize was a "self-selection" from the items remaining.
There were t-shirts, books, and other assorted items, but one book in particular caught Paul's attention. Upon making his selection, he held it up for everyone to see, and remarked that even at his age and experience, there is probably something else to be learned.
The irony was not missed by the group, and a hearty laugh was enjoyed by all.
He was kind enough to hold it up for me after the event, just so we could "get it on record".
I have to wonder what he could truly learn from that, and I think that it really speaks to his sense of humor, and also his humility.
That's a tough act to follow...