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.