Paul Poberezny first earned a raised eyebrow from retiring AOPA President Phil Boyer when he said, “Phil has become a millionaire since joining AOPA.” The EAA founder then said he, too, became a millionaire—because he and Boyer have made millions of friends in general aviation.
The quip was just one of the endearing moments Poberezny shared with the many members who attended the opening luncheon, which honored Poberezny for his lifetime of promoting and serving GA and recognized winners of the Max Karant Award for Excellence in General Aviation Reporting.
Poberezny talked about his lifelong love of flying starting with his first flight in a glider and earning $67 to repair his history teacher’s damaged Waco glider, which then became his first aircraft. He talked of EAA’s first office—a converted coal bin—and of buying a typewriter and mimeograph machine for his wife to compose the first EAA newsletter. The response to the newsletters told him that he wasn’t the only one with a love of aviation.
“I learned that aviation has the power to change a man or woman’s life,” Poberezny said. “For this great country of ours, the freedoms we have, we need to harness the enthusiasm we have to continue to improve general aviation.” Boyer called Poberezny the “father” of aviation, and Poberezny left the stage to a standing ovation.