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Volunteer Spotlight: Jeff and Rachel Gentz
Story and photo by Kristy Hemp
 

Jeff Gentz and daughter Rachel, 16 EAA Lifetime 156358 and EAA 558698. Hometown: Neenah, Wisconsin

What do you do?
Jeff
: Escort VIPs and help out at AeroShell Square.
Rachel: Help tow, wing walk, and park planes at Runway 13/31.

Years volunteering:
Jeff:
23+.
Rachel: 1st year.

Why do you do it?
Jeff:
Camaraderie and the family atmosphere.
Rachel: Volunteering for AirVenture is in my family. There are so many great opportunities when you volunteer.

Day job:
Jeff:
First officer and instructor pilot in the MD-11 at UPS.
Rachel: Student and aspiring nurseómaybe even a flight nurse.

Aviation background:
Jeff:
I wanted to fly since I was knee-high to a grasshopper.
Rachel: I was born with flying in my blood. I think my first flight was before I was bornómy mom was a flight attendant. Iím also working towards my solo.

Who introduced you to flying?
Jeff:
Phil Myrkle, Jim Casper, Lyle Wheeler, and Jim Barton. They took me under their wing and also introduced me to EAA.
Rachel: My dad.

First airplane ride:
Jeff:
Beechcraft Musketeer flying out of Oshkosh during the show. I remember how short it was because I didnít want it to end.
Rachel: A Lear Jet. I was about two-years-old.

What aircraft do you own:
Remos GX.

Any building aspirations?
Jeff:
I do now after seeing my friends build theirs!

An AirVenture event you would run to see:
Jeff and Rachel:
WhiteKnightTwo.

Most memorable AirVenture experience:
Jeff:
Watching my 16-year-old daughter volunteer for the first time.
Rachel: Sitting in the front seat of a Thunderbird during a parade at AirVenture.

What surprised you about AirVenture when you first started to volunteer?
Jeff:
The passing on of knowledge.
Rachel: How willing people are to teach you.

Favorite time of day at AirVenture:
Jeff:
The morning when AirVenture is waking up to make new memories.
Rachel: When new planes come in. I love learning all about them.

Aviation Hobbies:
Jeff:
Flying Young Eagles. Rachel was my first Young Eagle, and my daughter Abigail was my 300th.

I would love to have lunch with:
Jeff:
Charles Lindbergh. I would ask him what it was like to cross the ocean that everyone now flies in pressurized comfort.
Rachel: One of the WASP.

Who is an inspiration to you in aviation?
Jeff:
All the guys that took me under their wing.
Rachel: My dad. He taught me to work hard and go after my dreams.

Advice to future volunteers:
Jeff: DO IT!
Rachel: I have no regrets.

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