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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedVolunteer Spotlight: Inez Riverside 

Inez Riverside

Inez Riverside has no trouble talking trash. Garbage, that is.

Riverside and her husband, Jim, spend the weeks before EAA AirVenture Oshkosh opens helping to prepare for the start of the fly-in convention. The Iron Mountain, Michigan couple volunteer as part of EAA Chapter 439, out of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, whose job in the early years was hauling trash.

"I remember one time when the garbage caught on fire right on the flight line, so they dumped the garbage out right by the arch," she said. It wasn't a bad fire, and it was quickly put out with the use of fire extinguishers, she said. But it did cause quite a stir. "Of all the places to have a fire … right at the most visual spot!" she said, laughing.

With garbage now done by private haulers, the chapter mainly provides support for maintenance. And that means they can be doing just about anything, from painting the water buffalos, which Jim was doing on this particular day, to moving picnic tables or digging holes.

Riverside usually volunteers in three areas - the assistance center by the main gate, helping to create information booklets to answer common questions; the volunteer kitchen, helping to prepare and hand out food for the many volunteers; and the hospitality tent, helping to make people's vacations in Oshkosh a little more memorable.

She's taken many visitors' pictures as they stand in front of airplane cutouts with a hole for their head. And she's put on many temporary tattoos, mostly on people's ankles.

"You'd be surprised how many men want temporary tattoos," she said. "And one time a woman wanted the tattoo here," she said, pointing to her chest. "I told her to put it on herself."

Riverside said she came to Oshkosh for her honeymoon 27 years ago, and has been back ever since. She enjoys working with Chapter 439 because it has members from all over the world, including England and Australia. "We meet here, and keep in touch. It's just a nice group of people."

It's also a social group that thrives - and grows - with annual events like its Swinefest. "We roast a couple of pigs, hire a deejay and sing some songs. We have some singers and some sorta singers in our group. But when you make it fun, people keep coming back."

And as they get older, the chapter is also getting a younger group involved to do some of the more manual work. "We call them the Brat Pack," she said. "They're kids or grandkids of our members, and they move the picnic tables or set out garbage cans."


FUTURE AIRVENTURE DATES: 2014: July 28-Aug. 3; 2015: July 20-26; 2016: July 25-31; 2017: July 24-30
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