EAA Chapter 1129 was founded in 1996 as a result, as I recall of an offhand comment, "How come we don't have an EAA chapter in Fairbanks?"
Actually there was a chapter, but due in large part to the devastating economy in the 1980's the chapter had basically disbanded and disappeared.
The treasurer of that chapter gave the new EAA Chapter over $2000, the sum total of the previous chapter's bank account. That seed money allowed us the ability to incorporate, start a newsletter, pay our national dues, pay the mandatory insurance, pay postage and primitive advertising costs and basically get the ball rolling.
Each of the Chapter 1129 presidents has left an impression. Sterling Muth introduced us to ultralights long before the neighbors in North Pole ever began complaining about the noise. I remember him as an optimistic character, with a conservative don't-change-anything policy contrasted with his wild off the wall purchase of one of the first modern ultralights in Fairbanks.
Clay Cranor had the unglamorous task of wrangling the paperwork and incorporation paperwork to ground. His trademark laid-back style of leadership peaked with his presentation of how he preheated his Cub in the Early Days. “I just ran a hose from the car exhaust and up into the cowling…” We were a very low-budget group.
Dave Gardner probably wrote the second more modern edition of Robert's Rules of Order. His incredibly stable personality, sport coat and tie and look-you-right-in-eye honesty secured our honorary status with the IAAAF museum.
My presidency was built on the foundation of the previous presidents and supported by the solid Board of Directors. I learned that is ok to cry and show emotion when bad things happen to good people.
Pete Haggland has spearheaded our first really big project, building the Jenny wings. His booming voice is a great attribute at the Annual Banquet and he has reached out to other aviation organizations and helped our EAA chapter reputation as one to be considered when making aviation policy in the North Land.
Most of the original early 1996 members still regularly attend meetings, participate in Young Eagle events, eat pancakes at the Annual Breakfast and go to the Board Meetings even when they are not on the Board. Our Chapter has grown to almost 90 members with a reliable newsletter, bills to pay, wings to build, T-shirts to sell, kids to fly and a much anticipated Annual Banquet.
So, fellow EAA members, what's the Next Big Project?