Guest blog: National Aviation Hall of Fame - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Guest blog: National Aviation Hall of Fame

Jim Lovell, Apollo 13 Commander Jim Lovell, Apollo 13 Commander
Gene Kranz and Jim Lovell, Apollo 13 mission control, Commander Gene Kranz and Jim Lovell, Apollo 13 mission control, Commander
Mr. and Mrs. Kranz Mr. and Mrs. Kranz
Gene Kranz and Brig. Gen. Robert Cardenas (Ret.) Gene Kranz and Brig. Gen. Robert Cardenas (Ret.)
FOX19 -

Jim Lovell, Gene Kranz, and Joe Kittinger walk into a room. Sounds like the beginning of a joke, but was in actually in honor of the 53rd annual National Aviation Hall of Fame induction awards banquet, held at the National Museum of the USAF.

Four gentleman were introduced as the class of 2015: Brig. Gen. Robert Cardenas (Ret.), the late Robert Hartzell, Eugene Kranz, and the late Abe Silverstein.  Jim Lovell was the recipient of the inaugural NAHF Neil Armstrong Outstanding Achievement Award.  Hartzell, Kranz, and Lovell are all Buckeyes.

The night began with a meet and greet where current NAHOF members mingled with ticket holders. I was absolutely twitterpated to stalk the room with aviation legends; Gene Kranz, mission control. Jim Lovell, astronaut. Joe Kittinger, set a world record for the longest skydive, POW survivor. Joe Engle, test pilot. The level of achievement and adventure within the room was staggering.  As I recognized each of our living aviation legends I did have the obligatory “ohmygod it’s him!” reaction and was somewhat surprised to notice they weren’t all ten feet tall. And when they smiled at me, I giggled each time. Couldn’t help it.

Though I would have desperately liked to talk to Mr. Kranz (I highly recommend his book Failure Is Not An Option, as well as Kittinger’s Come Up And Get Me) I instead had the pleasure of talking to his wife, Marta. She gave off the warm aura of someone you feel as though you’ve known all your life. I asked if it had been difficult to be married to a mission control operator back in the day- long hours, tense situations with the creation of space exploration- and she replied no, not at all, and offered some wonderful advice; that to be part of a good marriage you need to be a sounding board, and to be there for the other.  That you don’t have to solve everyone’s problems but rather, just be there for them. Listen. And in his acceptance speech, Mr. Kranz thanked his wife who was “the miracle” of his life.

I had just a moment to talk to Mr. Lovell. He also gave some thoughtful guidance. I inquired that with his experience of Apollo 13, what advice would he give to someone who feels hopeless, helpless, at the end of their rope?  He smiled from his eyes, put his hand on my shoulder and replied, “The minute you’re born, you’re in heaven. Don’t waste your time by waiting to die and get to the other heaven to live. Now’s your time; enjoy it and make the best of it!”

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