Yesterday’s Heroes And Tomorrow’s Hopefuls Celebrated At The Frontiers Of Flight Museum’s “Exploration Space 2017 Gala”

Despite threatening weather, the sky was the limit for the Frontiers of Flight Museum‘s “Exploration Space 2017 Gala” on Thursday, May 18, at the museum. For the occasion, Apollo 13 astronauts Jim Lovell and Fred Haise were on hand to receive the George E. Haddaway Award, along with NASA vet Mary Ellen Weber and past Haddaway awardees Walt Cunningham and Dr. Ken Cooper. But the event wasn’t just limited to yesteryear heroes. Tomorrow’s hopefuls included adorable Sofia Lee. Here’s a report from the field:

Frontiers of Flight Gala*

The 2017 Gala was all about Exploration Space – from the remarkable Apollo 13 astronauts, Jim Lovell and Fred Haise, who were honored with the Museum’s George E. Haddaway Award, to nine-year-old Sofia Lee, representing the 18,000 students who participate in the Museum’s STEM education programs.

During the conversation with Jim Lovell and Fred Haise about the Apollo 13 mission that was classified as a “successful failure” when the astronauts were brought home safely against many odds, Fred Haise said, “I thought it would just be an abort. My emotion initially was just sick to my stomach with disappointment. We’d lost the landing.”

Mary Ellen Weber, Jim Lovell, Mary Ann Cree, Sofia Lee, Fred Haise and Walt Cunningham*

The Apollo 13 story and the continued interest in space exploration was evidenced by the many age groups in attendance. Mary Ellen Weber, a NASA veteran of the Space Shuttle missions Discovery and Atlantis and a strong supporter of the Museum’s STEM education program, was in attendance.

Even the children today consider the astronauts American heroes. Sofia Lee was so eager to meet her heroes that she raised money for her ticket to the Gala through a lemonade stand. Sofia, who aspires to be an astronaut for her generation, met her heroes and had the honor of presenting them with the Haddaway Award. Sofia says, “I want to be an astronaut one day. I want to see things from a new perspective, to see them differently than I do from Earth.”

Capt. Lovell, who piloted or commanded four NASA missions – Gemini 7, Gemini 12, Apollo 8, and Apollo 13 – and Fred Haise, Lunar Module Pilot of Apollo 13, became the 43rd and 44th recipients of the Museum’s George E. Haddaway Award, joining the ranks of John Glenn, Walt Cunningham and Chuck Yeager.

The award is presented by the Museum annually “to those who have distinguished themselves by their accomplishments in the real of flight as pilots, aircrew members, corporate or political leadership, engineering, education or literature.”

Funds raised from the event “support the Museum’s new Exploration Space Initiative, a multi-faceted expansion of the Museum’s acclaimed STEM educational programming.”

Event sponsors included:

  • Exploration Space ($50,000) — Mary Ann Cree (Presenting Sponsor)
  • Apollo 13 ($25,000) — Gena and Dan Hamilton
  • Gemini 12 ($10,000) — Boeing / Aviall, Gulfstream, Martha and David Norton/Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley and Norton LLP and The Alinda Hill Wikert Foundation
  • Gemini 7 ($5,000) — Air-O-Specialists of Texas, Inc./ Inc., American Airlines and Millie and Kenneth H. Cooper, Corgan, DFW International Airport, D Magazine, Dallas Love Field, Dickie+Associates, Events by Bill, Suzy Fulton/Scott Davis, Herbert Minerals Ltd./PlaneSmart! Aviation, Nancy and Pete Huff/Dr. and Mrs. David Webb Jr.,Cheryl Sutterfield-Jones and Ron Jones, Chris Jones – Purewater Baths, Elsa Manzanares/Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP, Noelle and Stewart Mercer, Tom Rhodes/The Rhodes Group, Signature Flight Support,  Southwest Airlines, University of Texas at Dallas Special Collections, UPS, Virgin America, Cindy and Tony Weber and James A. White
* Photos provided by Frontiers of Flight Museum

The Pioneer Stars Of The Universe Were Shining At The Frontiers of Flight Museum Gala

Remember when Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier? When the first man landed on the moon? No? Those were days when new frontiers were over our heads and we watched the air pioneers breaking new records.

Frontiers of Flight Museum Gala

Frontiers of Flight Museum Gala*

Many of those men and women who pioneered the 20th century frontier were in Dallas for the Frontiers of Flight Museum Gala on April 27. This prestigious group was made up of

Frank Culbertson, Fred Haise, Jim Lovell, Michael Lopez-Alegira, Tom Stafford, Alan Bean, Eileen Collins, Walt Cunningham, Mary Ellen Weber, Gene Cernan and Tom Henricks

Frank Culbertson, Fred Haise, Jim Lovell, Michael Lopez-Alegira, Tom Stafford, Alan Bean, Eileen Collins, Walt Cunningham, Mary Ellen Weber, Gene Cernan and Tom Henricks*

  • Pilot of the Apollo 7 Mission Col. Walter Cunningham, USMC (ret.), who was honorary chair with his wife Dot,
  • Alan Bean (Apollo 12, Skylab 3),
  • Gene Cernan (Gemini 9A, Apollo 10, Apollo 17),
  • Eileen Collins (STS-63, STS-84, STS-93, STS-114),
  • Fred Haise (Apollo 13, OV-101),
  • Tom Henricks (STS-44, STS-55, STS-70, STS-78),
  • Mike Lopez-Alegria (STS-73, STS-92, STS-113, Soyuz TMA-9, Expedition 14),
  • Jim Lovell (Gemini 7, Gemini 12, Apollo 8, Apollo 13),
  • Tom Stafford (Gemini 6, Gemini 9A, Apollo 10, Apollo-Soyuz Test Project) and
  • Mary Ellen Weber (STS-70, STS-101).

Not since Christopher Columbus have people ventured into such unknown territories. Somehow, the gala committee not only got this stellar group together for this fundraiser, but they also presented Congressman Ralph Hall with the George E. Haddaway Award for Achievement In Aviation because of his dedicated “advocacy of science, space and aviation as a member and chair of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

Ralph Hall, Sam Johnson and Allan McBee

Congressman Ralph Hall, Congressman Sam Johnson and Allan McBee*

According to Allan McBee, it was the best event he had ever attended and Allan has had more than his share of events.

Among the 3T’s (Top-Tier-Types) assembled for this history-making event were former U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Congressman Sam Johnson and Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.

“The Frontiers of Flight Museum Gala is a very special evening dedicated to the accomplishments and contributions to aviation and space exploration,” said Frontiers of Flight Museum President/CEO Cheryl Sutterfield-Jones. “It’s also a great fundraising opportunity to support the education of the next generation of aviators and astronauts through the museum’s incredible Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs that reach more than 10,000 students each year.”

If you want to know who made it possible for all of these stars to be gathered in this one place for an unforgettable evening, follow the jump!

* Photos provided by the Frontiers of Flight Museum [Read more...]