Dallas — The Frontiers of Flight Museum, located next to Dallas Love Field, celebrated its 30th anniversary with its annual Gala on Friday, May 10.
“This year is really special because it’s our 30th anniversary,” Cheryl Sutterfield-Jones, CEO of the Museum, said. “The original mission of the founders was to educate, motivate and inspire the next generation. Thirty years later, we’re serving 42,000 kids annually through the museum. I think if the founders were here today, they’d be so proud to see their vision has come to life.
“The Gala is a fundraising tool for the museum, so we always hope it brings in a lot of money. It’s also a time to celebrate donors and of course our award winners.”
This year, the inaugural Olin C. Lancaster, Jr. Leadership Award was presented to UPS Red River District president Deryl Hill. Lancaster served as the very first director of the museum and continued in that role for ten years.
“Olin Lancaster, Jr. passed away last year, and his family asked us to create this award,” Sutterfield-Jones said. “It was about leadership and then the opportunity to look at UPS as an organization that supports the mission of the museum, so it all fit very well.
“UPS’ staff comes out and volunteers over 3,000 hours a month, so they’re like family”
The creation of this new award was a labor of love.
“The family got together with Cheryl [Sutterfield-Jones] and did some funding for the museum,” Olin Lancaster III said. “We wanted to come up with an idea to honor Dad. Cheryl and the board came up with the Leadership Award, because it’s a great way for them to take this event to broaden horizons.
“The [George E.] Haddaway Award historically has been for icons and military, aviation, history and you name it. Every year, the list of those who deserve it is getting shorter and shorter [because so many WWII vets are passing away].
“The Leadership Award allows the museum to have a great namesake, but also reaches more into the corporate world where you can kind of regenerate the opportunity to honor people and create great funding opportunities for the museum. Dad was so proud of this place, and this is a tremendous legacy.
“As we inaugurate the Olin C. Lancaster Jr. Leadership Award, it’s my privilege to reflect on part of Dad’s life, of which he was so proud,” Lancaster said. “Dad shared with me on several occasions that aside from his life with his loving family, his service as a Naval aviator and his leadership with the Frontiers of Flight were two of the most gratifying periods in his life.
“In 1989, Dad was in a career crossroads. Jan Collmer called and asked him to have a cup of coffee and discuss something interesting. Jan had been responsible for a group of important aviation memorabilia, which, at the time, was housed at UT-Dallas. Jan had a vision to develop an aviation museum, which one-day would rival the best in the country. In Dad, he found exactly the right guy at exactly the right time to help begin the wonderful journey that led to this wonderful example that we’re here in tonight.”
Lancaster introduced the award recipient, UPS Red River District president Deryl Hill.
“I am truly humbled and honored to accept this award on behalf of the 485,000 UPSers,” Hill said. “In 2014, UPS pledged to complete 20 million hours of global volunteerism and community service by the end of 2020. Thanks to the dedication of UPS employees, we’ve already achieved 98 percent of that goal.
“We have over 30,000 UPSers in the Red River District, which includes Texas and Oklahoma. In 2018, these employees volunteered more than 193,000 hours in those two states. I’m proud that hundreds of those hours have been spent at the Frontiers of Flight Museum.”
The evening also honored the many volunteers who keep the museum running.
“I’ve racked up about 11,000 volunteer hours in the time I’ve been here,” Capt. Kenneth Branscome (retired), who has been volunteering at the museum for 13 years, said. “I mostly make up the displays, fix the space and things like that. I did tours for a while, but I got busy doing the other stuff. I like to work with my hands and build things. I did extensive modifications to the Frontier Flyer here in the museum to shorten the wings so they could put it on a trailer to get it here.”
Branscome served in Korea as a fighter pilot, flying a Douglas AD Skyraider.
“My nephew flies an F-15,” Branscome said. “I was bragging to him that the AD Skyraider could climb five, six thousand feet a minute. He looked at me and said, ‘Uncle Kenny, I go through Mach [breaking the sound barrier] going straight up.’ That sort of popped my balloon.”
Written by Stacey Doud