2021- Midway Volunteer of the Year: Bonnie Brown, Midway Volunteer Librarian

At the annual Midway Volunteer dinner, each of the Midway’s departments nominates a volunteer to be considered for Volunteer of the Year. Usually the Award goes to one of the more prominent sections like the Docents, Engineering, Safety, or Ship Restoration. This year, it went to Bonnie Brown who volunteers in the Library, part of the Curatorial Division.

It is the first time that someone from Curatorial has won the award.

When Bonnie’s picture was flashed up on the screen as each of the awardees was introduced in turn, the description was a dry recital of library factoids–so many books, magazines, newspapers, etc. It did not include the breadth of services that the library provides to crew members (staff and volunteers alike), guests (whether they are former crew members or friends/family of former crew members), researchers, and other libraries including the Smithsonian.

In her acceptance speech, Bonnie shared what we do:

I accept this honor on behalf of our entire library team of 65 volunteers.

For our Bookstore team who keep our store open every day the ship is open.

For our Magazine indexers and summarizers who read and index USS Midway related articles

For our Crew List researchers who go through muster rolls, newsletters, and deck logs to find our former crew members which now number almost 100,000

For our Facebook manager, Don, who has posted everyday for almost 6 years

For our publishing team of writers, proofers, and artists that have published 4 books and are working on a 5th

For our Deck Log transcribers who stare at computer screens for hours to type out our Midway history

For our scanning and PDF expert, Hal

For our researchers and catalogers who find and document our history

For our long distance researchers, Pat, Kyle and Troy, who log in from Virginia, Minnesota, and Santa Barbara to upload and catalog materials

For our Zoom coordinator, Liza, who began in March last year to coordinate and kept us all connected over the shutdowns

And especially for our 30 volunteers who continued to work at home when the ship was closed

For the Proceedings team who have summarized every Naval Institute Proceedings article back to 1874

And, for Joan Ring who had a passion for the library and who sadly passed away in 2019 after volunteering over 13,000 hours

For the Library Co-Lead Phil Eakin who loves research and is really good at making that research accessible to others,

and last but not least to our leader, Dave Hanson, who guides us and allows us the freedom to pursue our goals

Thanks, too, to my husband, Roger, who supports my volunteering and supports all things Midway

I am standing here because of these fantastic people who have created a library that has journalists and other museums, including the Smithsonian, contacting us for information.

I would like to ask all the Library volunteers to please stand to be recognized for their contribution to this wonderful ship and wonderful museum.

17 thoughts on “2021- Midway Volunteer of the Year: Bonnie Brown, Midway Volunteer Librarian”

    1. This is where I volunteer Malc. I usually log in early each morning and either catalog or check some other cataloging. I also do some long-distance reindexing and backing up on the museum management system we use. Before COVID I used to go two hours north to the National Archives to copy deck logs that others transcribe for historical information and crew member names. Thanks for asking.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks, Malc. I like your British way of expressing it. I understand (perhaps incorrectly) that prior to the establishment of the Victoria Cross (and maybe some other military medals), the only way someone could earn accolades without bragging was to be mentioned in dispatches.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. You could well be right. I’ve always thought of the honour as being something that you achieved which didn’t quite merit a medal, but I really don’t know for sure.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. You are correct , Macl. According to Wikipedia” Servicemen and women of the British Empire or the Commonwealth who are mentioned in despatches (MiD) are not awarded a medal for their actions, but receive a certificate and wear an oak leaf device on the ribbon of the appropriate campaign medal. A smaller version of the oak leaf device is attached to the ribbon when worn alone.[1] Prior to 2014, only one device could be worn on a ribbon, irrespective of the number of times the recipient was mentioned in despatches.[2] Where no campaign medal is awarded, the oak leaf is worn directly on the coat after any medal ribbons.[3] In the British Armed Forces, the despatch is published in the London Gazette.[1]” Also To be mentioned in dispatches (or despatches, MiD) describes a member of the armed forces whose name appears in an official report written by a superior officer and sent to the high command, in which their gallant or meritorious action in the face of the enemy is described.

            In some countries, a service member’s name must be mentioned in dispatches as a condition for receiving certain decorations.

            Liked by 1 person

  1. Thanks, Francisco. She really deserved that honor which is one of the reasons I was so pleasantly surprised when she got it. Libraries are often overlooked for other more popular or deemed more important departments.


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