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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedOperation Thirst chairman retires after 30 years
By A.J. Forst, EAA AirVenture Today

Photo by Cindy Luft
Betty Ristau reacts as she opens a gift during a retirement party. She has volunteered at Operation Thirst for 30 years.

August 1, 2009 - Oshkosh, Wisconsin - After 30 years of helping to quench the thirst and sate the hunger of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh volunteers, Betty Ristau, chairman of Operation Thirst, is retiring this year.

"I think it's time," she said.

Operation Thirst volunteers prepare food and beverages for many of the other AirVenture volunteers. This year, they have made and delivered more than 15,000 sandwiches. Betty is one of five people who run Operation Thirst, aided by many volunteers, including eight to 10 sandwich makers per day, and an assortment of others who help with other aspects of the operation.

A lot has changed since 1979. Back then, Operation Thirst had nothing more than a trailer, and they would grind their own hot dogs. The current location used to be a shower house. A back room was added, as well as air conditioning and other amenities. Now, Operation Thirst prepares and delivers food and beverages four times a day.

"I'll miss working here, but I'll miss my friends more than anything," said Ristau. She still plans on visiting, however.

"I enjoyed every day up here. Everybody was nice to me all the time."

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