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Honoring Museum Volunteers during National Volunteer Week

By MC3 Randy Adams, NHHC

On April 20, 1974, President Richard Nixon established National Volunteer week to offer appreciation for the great work of volunteers and call for more citizens to give back to their communities. In presidential proclamation 4288 Nixon stated, “I urge all Americans to observe that week by seeking out an area in their community in which they can give to a needy individual or a worthy cause by devoting a few hours, or more, each week to volunteer service.”

Since its founding, each year every president has made a new proclamation thanking volunteers of the nation and asking for more people to contribute their time to volunteer opportunities.

In recognition of the work that all of the volunteers do, we say THANK YOU! Additionally, we acknowledge a few whose contributions and outstanding support make it possible for the public to enjoy their history.

Myra Clodius leads a life of unequaled service and dedication to the Puget Sound Navy Museum (PSNM), where she has volunteered for 13 years. Although she turns 100 years old in 2020, she is still quick to assist with the PSNM gift shop and to lend a helping hand in multiple nonprofit organizations within the community. Volunteering at PSNM is just one part of Ms. Clodius’ active schedule. She has volunteered her time with organizations such as the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, Kitsap Computing Seniors, and the American Association of Retired Persons’ Internal Revenue Program. Ms. Clodius has had a profound impact on our community and has improved the lives of many individuals in need of assistance.

On Blue Angels practice days, Bobbie Fallen is among the dedicated group of volunteers interacting with wide-eyed visitors as they watch the blue and gold F/A-18 Hornets roar through the sky over the National Naval Aviation Museum. Bobbie is a regular at the Information Desk leaving visitors with a great first impression as they enter the museum. She has been a volunteer for more than 7 years and accumulated 3,300 hours.

Retired Navy Captain John Paganelli, is the only remaining plank owner of the National Naval Aviation Museum’s volunteer program still active. A volunteer since 1989, he brings a wide range of experiences to share with visitors, having flown everything from an SNJ Texan to the F-14 Tomcat during his career. Always a familiar sight giving tours in his flight jacket adorned with colorful squadron patches, Paganelli is a walking history book of Naval Aviation and a link to the birth of the volunteer program that is vital to making the museum experience special for everyone.

National Naval Aviation Museum volunteer Joe Konega. A retired Air Force pilot, flew 148 combat missions in the RF-4C Phantom II in Vietnam and more than 100 Cold War missions in the SR-71 Blackbird. Joe stands out as one of the museum’s most knowledgeable tour guides, always quick to give a special tour when required and receiving rave reviews from visitors. 

For information about opportunities to volunteer at our museums click her.e

Melanie Kohler has volunteered at the National Museum of the United States Navy for over a year, contributing over 170 hours of her time to support Navy museums. Watching veterans’ faces light up when they enter the museum is one of the many reasons Melanie enjoys volunteering on the Washington Navy Yard. Melanie’s love for history and giving back to her community led her to a volunteer curator position at the Hampton Roads Naval Museum.

Hampton Roads Naval Museum

By Max Lonzanida, HRNM

The museum’s volunteers were recently featured in a print edition of The Downtowner newspaper, in an article titled Vietnam Veterans Reflect on their Service at Naval Museum. The article discusses the volunteer services of U.S. Navy Vietnam War Veterans Richard “Chipper” Chipchak, Chris Page and Bill Murray; and was held in the “hopper” by the publication’s editor, Jack Armistead to be released this past week. The article, appears here.

Volunteer Jim Leuci, retired Master Chief Petty Officer (right), has logged hours remotely during the course of conducting historical research for upcoming historical programs at the museum’s annex facility aboard Naval Station Norfolk.

Volunteer Bob Tully (left), a U.S. Navy Veteran, has contributed an article for the museum’s in-house volunteer newsletter The Scuttlebutt associated with USS Wallace L. Lind (DD 703).