Jim Moss, EAA 80553, has been volunteering for a long time. Fifty-one years, to be exact. Jim’s volunteer journey started in 1972, when he was just a kid.
“My grandmother lives in town, my great-aunt along with her, and they decided I was old enough to go see the airplanes up close and personal,” Jim said. “Walked up to the flightline, walked up to the tower. By the time I was there, I’d walked a little over two-and-a-half miles. I was tired, I’d seen more airplanes then I’d ever seen in my life, it was the coolest thing in the world, and I was done.”
However, while waiting to get picked up, Jim found a small building filled with mini-bikes. That started three years of Jim trying to get permission to ride these bikes, consistently getting turned down for being too young. However, the third year, Jim was more persistent, staying around the shack all day until he found a way to help out.
“I hear the two guys talking in the building that they can’t let out anymore mini-bikes because none of the ones that they have in there are running,” Jim said. “They’re all broken. I look over, and I see two that I can fix, just from looking at them. I just need a screwdriver. So I say, ‘I can get two of these running for you.’ ‘No, you can’t touch the mini-bikes. You aren’t old enough.’ Long story short, I’m there all day.”
Eventually, Jim was given a chance by the chairman of safety, and he managed to get all the bikes running. For the next few years, Jim was stationed at this building as a volunteer. Years later, Jim is working as the chairman of safety.
“Being the chairman of safety, we get to talk to some people that you are less than happy with for a multitude of reasons,” Jim said. “But I’ve been coming back ever since I started working full time, just because of the people. It’s just so much fun. That, and I like to be part of the action.”
Being part of the action hasn’t tired Jim out, as he continues to come year after year. His advice for newcomers?
“To new volunteers, at any age, young, old, in between, come out and do it,” Jim said. “You don’t really know the convention or know the membership until you start volunteering. You’re going to have fun, no matter what you do.”
Volunteers make EAA AirVenture Oshkosh — and just about everything else EAA does — possible. This space in EAA Sport Aviation is dedicated to thanking and shining the spotlight on volunteers from the community. Sadly, it cannot capture all of the thousands of volunteers who give so much to the community every year. So, next time you see a volunteer at AirVenture or elsewhere, however they are pitching in to make EAA better, be sure to thank them for it. It’s the least we can do. Do you know a volunteer you’d like to nominate for Volunteer Spotlight? Visit EAA.org/Submissions.