Dennis Spivey and the "Welcome to Oshkosh" Beetle
Two years ago, Dennis Spivey was briefing a pair of new arrivals to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh when he noticed they looked a little frazzled.
"Is it your first flight in?" he asked the women.
"Oh God, yes," she replied. "It was like a swarm of locusts out there."
So as he briefed them, he took a little extra time to answer their questions and get them acclimated to "The Oshkosh Way."
"It was not only their first time flying in, but their first time here," Spivey said. "And it was a busy day with air traffic, too; I helped them take a breath and get their feet back down on the ground."
In Spivey's regular life, he's a technology consultant for the Cisco Academy at South Suburban College in South Holland, Illinois. But for one week every summer, he takes vacation time to volunteer at AirVenture Oshkosh.
A pilot for 10 years, Spivey said he attended his first AirVenture in 1995, and he immediately realized that everyone was helpful. He's been co-chairman of the Aircraft Greets for about five years, and now he's the one being helpful.
"I enjoy greeting the pilots when we get them parked," he said. "Plus I help in flights ops when they're short and need someone to push a plane in. I’ve made some great friendships..."
But there are other benefits to volunteering. For Spivey, it's driving the Volkswagen bug that says, "Welcome to Oshkosh." The car usually catches people's attention, and Spivey knows that many people have taken his picture as he goes about his job.
Occasionally, however, he likes to turn the tables. He remembered chatting with a couple from Germany. "They told me they had planned the trip for five years. So I asked them if they wanted a picture to send home." He took their picture — sitting in the Volkswagen.
Spivey said he is thankful for the people who volunteered in the past to make AirVenture such a great event. "All I hope is that I'm helping to make it a great event for someone else."