2019 Trailblazer Award
The Trailblazer Award has been awarded annually since 1983, to an individual or organization that has furthered aviation in the greater Miami Valley. The 2019 Trailblazer Awards were presented at a free ice cream social at the Armstrong Air & Space Museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio, Saturday, Aug. 17.
There were two recipients this year. Honored were Neil Armstrong (posthumously) for his first man on the moon achievement 50 years ago, and the Armstrong Air & Space Museum for memorializing Armstrong, the moon landing, and Ohio Aviation.
In addition to being an award recipient, the museum hosted the event to recognize its staff and volunteers who worked to plan and execute events commemorating Armstrong’s moon mission. The ice cream was generously contributed by Stoops Sweets & Treats of Wapakoneta.
Guests were greeted and welcomed by Dante Centuori, Executive Director of the Armstrong Air & space Museum.
The Two Awards
An introduction to the Trailblazer Awards was given by Marvin Christian, President of Aviation Trail, Inc.
Armstrong Air & Space Museum - 2019 ATI Trailblazer Award:
The award was presented by Randy Zuercher, Curator of the Aviation Trail Parachute Museum. Danti Centuori accepted the award on behalf of the Museum and its personnel.
The Armstrong Air & Space Museum Trailblazer Award is presented to the Museum's founders and supporters for memorializing Armstrong, the moon landing, and Ohio aviation. The Museum opened on July 20, 1972 and has continuously enhanced and expanded their message including recently created educational space for classes in their STEM program. Visit https://armstrongmuseum.org for more information about the museum.
Neil Armstrong - 2019 ATI Trailblazer Award:
The award was presented by Aviation Trail Vice President Steve Brown, who was the 2011 Trailblazer Award winner. Danti Centuori accepted the award on behalf of Neil Armstrong.
Armstrong was born near Wapakoneta, Ohio, on Aug. 5, 1930, and earned his pilot’s license before his driver’s license; during his career he was an astronaut, aeronautical engineer, naval aviator, test pilot and a professor of aeronautical engineering at the University of Cincinnati.
The apex of his career came with Apollo 11 on July 20, 1969, when he piloted the lunar module to the moon, exited and said “That’s one step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Following him onto the moon that day was Buzz Aldrin; Michael Collins remained in the command Module orbiting the moon.
Splash down for the returning astronauts was July 24 in the Pacific Ocean west of Hawaii. After 21 days of quarantine on land, the three astronauts enjoyed a ticker-tape parade in New York City and a world tour. Armstrong remained with NASA as deputy assistant administrator for aeronautics until 1971.
The Armstrong Air and Space Museum’s focus is on Armstrong’s aviation and space achievements. On display, for example, are Armstrong’s Gemini and Apollo spacesuits, two aircraft flown by Armstrong, and an Apollo 11 moon rock. Visitors also can watch a 25-minute documentary in the Astro Theater about Apollo 11’s lunar landing. One year ago the museum began a major educational expansion to include a classroom for classes in STEM (science technology, engineering, and mathematics).
Neil Armstrong completed an elite trio of Ohioans who did extraordinary things in the air and space. Wilbur and Orville Wright who were the first to fly and control a heavier than air machine; John Glenn of New Concord, Ohio, the first American to circle the earth in space; and Armstrong.
Since 1983 Aviation Trail has awarded its Trailblazer annually to a person or organization that has advanced aviation in some manner in the greater Miami Valley. A complete list of awardees is at the ATI website https://www.aviationtrailinc.org/trailblazers.
Armstrong Air & Space Museum500 Apollo Drive • PO Box 1978Wapakoneta, OH 45895
CLICK HERE to see a list of the other 36 past yearly Trailblazer recipients.