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November 02, 2007 - Wings Over the Rockies Spreads Its Wings Around, Above & Beyond

What: 2007 Spreading Wings Gala

Where: Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum 7711 East Academy Blvd. Denver CO 80230

When: Friday, November 2, 2007

Time: 5:30 pm - 9:30 p.m.

Ticket Prices: Individual $200, Individual Museum Member $150, Individual Patron $300, Individual Patron Museum Member $250, Bronze Table Sponsor $3,000, Silver Table Sponsor $5,000, Gold Table Sponsor $10,000, Platinum Sponsor $15,000

Beneficiary: At Risk Youth

Honoree(s): Steve Fossett

EMCEE: Gregg Moss, 9NEWS

Gala Chairperson(s): Harry T. Lewis, Jr.

Honorary Chairperson(s): Barrington Irving & Dick Rutan

Committee Members: Rick Adam, Tom Allee, Greg Anderson, Dutch Bansbach, Terry Combs, Jack Cronin, Gene Dessell, Judy Dessell, Dave Dickerson, David Ebershoff, Jo Farrell, Roxanne Harrington, Charlie Johnson, Lindsay Kpugh. Lynn Krogh, Kristin Love, Peter Luce, Tom Luinstra, Tom Marsh, Ethan Martin, Scott Nycum, Robert Olislagers, John Pritzlaff, Darell Schmidt, Bill Scott, Harold Smethills, Bob Sweeney, Joe Thibodeau, Emily Warner, Pat Wiesner, Carl Williams, Duane Woodard, John Zayac

President(s): Greg Anderson, CEO

Staff: Jill Bagdasarian, Matthew Bruchette, Susan Darigo, Ed Massman, Nancy McCurdy, Linda Rae Roggensack, Susan Schoenthal, Royal Stainbrook, Courtney Walsh, Darci Wert

Invocation: Major General John France, COANG (Ret.)

Welcome: Harry T. Lewis, Jr.

Speaker: Greg Anderson

Catering: Epicurean Catering

Music: Sound of the Rockies Men's Choir

Sponsors: Presenting Sponsor: Barron Hilton; Gold Sponsors: Jeppesen, John Pritzlaff, Larry Rommrell Silver Sponsors: Aviation Technology Group, CH2M HILL, Eugene & Judith Dessel, Cortlandt S. Dessel, Don Estey, FirstBank of Cherry Creek, Integrated Airline Services, Inc., Lewis Investments, Anthony R. Mayer, Al & Mindy Meiklejohn, Pinnacol Assurance, Jeff & Nancy Puckett, Saunders Construction, Shughart Thomson, & Kilroy, P.C., Terry & Linda Stevinson, Wells Fargo, Pat Wiesner, Carl M. Williams, Zakhem Atherton; Bronze Sponsors: Adam Aircraft, Benson Mineral Group, Brown & Brown Insurance, Caribou Ranch, Centennial Airport, Denver Business Journal, Denver Jet Center, First Western Trust Bank, Timothy C. Hoiles, Infinite Links, Inc., International Jet Aviation, Islands and Highlands, JP Morgan Private Bank, Kenneth King Foundation, Law Offices of Joe Thibodeau, Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Lockton Companies of Colorado, Lowry Redevelopment Authority, Tom & Diane Marsh, McClain Finlon Advertising, Perfect Landing Restaurant, Peter & Betsy Luce, Colonel Ronald C. Smith, Space Foundation, Diane & Harold Smethills, Sterling Ranch, United Launch Alliance, University of Denver, Wetzel Aviation, Wiesner Publishing; Entertainment Sponsor: XJet; Valet Sponsor: Ferrari of Denver

Quote of the evening: "I believe we are all adventurers" --Greg Anderson

Menu: Gourmet chopped salad, grilled beef tenderloin w/ blackberry-ginger jam, butternut squash risotto, Epicurean grilled vegetables, mushroom and spinach purse, mousse duo dessert

Attendance: 800

Attire: Aviator or cocktail attire

Hors D'Oeuvres:: Grilled tequila-lime shrimp, petite sliders, stuffed piquillo peppers, petite chile relleno


Board of Directors: Rod Atherton, Terry Barnhart, Barney Carlson, Midge Cozzens, Jack Cronin, Willie Daniels, Dave Dickerson, Don Estey, John France, Charlie Johnson, John Knudsen, Lindsay T. Kough, Peter P. Luce, Mike Massarotti, Al Mieklejohn. Robert Resling, Larry Romrell, Harold Smethills, Ronald C. Smith, Emily Warner, Carl Williams

Blacktie Photos by: Billie Rommes

 Dick Rutan, left, Peggy Fossett and Barrington Irving
Dick Rutan, left, Peggy Fossett and Barrington Irving

By day, the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum is a wonderfully fascinating place to visit and explore everything about aviation. Inside the giant 1930s former Air Force Hangar One there is everything from historic fighter planes to a Star Wars X-Wing fighter. It is full of history, past and futuristic.

On Friday, November 2, the Wings Over the Rockies Museum was transformed for the Spreading Wings Gala. It was decorated for an evening of celebration as over 800 guests gathered to honor the late Steve Fossett as well as raise funds for the many youth programs sponsored by the museum.

As guests arrived, some dressed in aviation attire and some in classic cocktail attire, they walked through a long canvas walkway which delivered them into the dramatic setting of the museum. With the low lights and a glow coming from behind a giant curtain, the museum had taken on a wonderfully mysterious feel. The evening began with a cocktails and a chance to look over the many silent auction items that were displayed among the vintage aircraft and other museum displays. Where else can one enjoy cocktails, hors d'oeuvres presented by Epicurean Catering and chatting with friends with a H21 helicopter behind you or a vintage glider hanging above?

As dinner and the program were about to begin, the giant curtain that divided the room was drawn back to welcome guests to their tables. A giant, spinning replica of our planet Earth, complete with small airplanes and space capsules circling around, made for a perfect "centerpiece" for the room. The program began as a number of special guests and speakers were escorted to the stage by a few of the youth from the museum's education programs. This included Boy Scouts who participated in the Wings Aviation Badge program, students who attended the Wings Experience Aviation and the Wing Summer Campers.

After introductions and a welcome to the guests, the audience was invited to join in singing the national anthem. Major General John France then came on stage to greet and welcome everyone. He said a few words about the evening's honoree, Steve Fossett and then gave a touching invocation. Next to speak was Wings Museum Chairman Harold Smethills. He had much to share with the audience about the making of the new hangar, four new exhibits in the museum and the second facility being built at Centennial Airport. He also recognized and thanked the board members, committee members, the hard working staff and the many volunteers who have given over 30,000 hours each year.

Next to speak was Greg Anderson, President and CEO. His speech touched on the adventurer in all of us. He went on to talk about Steve Fossett and how the adventurer in him provides inspiration and challenge. He shared personal stories of meeting both of the evening's special guest speakers, Dick Rutan and Barrington Irving. His final thoughts were for the young people and the education outreach programs. He left us with the thought that it is "the young people who will lead us into the new horizon."

It was then time to be thoroughly entertained by the "Sound of the Rockies" men's choir. They are a lively, 100+ A Cappella all male chorus who recently placed third in an international competition. They started out with a fun medley about Denver, Colorado and then did some old time favorites like "You Are My Sunshine" and "Trouble in River City." But the real crowd pleaser was a medley of military songs in honor of the many aviators, pilots and military in the room. They finished up with "The Impossible Dream." They were great fun to watch as well as listen to.

Harry T. Lewis, honorary chair, then took the stage to talk about the museum's mission and programs. He also shared his feelings on the youth programs, summing up with "children are the time capsules we launch into the future." Gregg Moss then returned to kick off the live auction, starting with a personal flight on a B-17. He introduced two young people who participated in the museum's youth programs. They each shared the personal experiences and some ambitious plans for their future. They were both very encouraging in their hopes and dreams.

Following them was yet another inspirational young man, 23-year-old Barrington Irving. He is the first person of African decent and the youngest to fly solo around the world in a Columbia 400. He shared his story of being raised in inner-city Miami, his passion and love of being in the air and now working with inner city youth. He was followed by Dick Rutan, the pilot for the round the globe flight on the Voyager almost 20 years ago. Dick gave a toast for all of the military folks in the audience - past, present and the families. He then shared his personal experience of knowing Steve Fossett, the honoree of the evening.

A video was shown that shared many of Steve Fossetts adventures and about his passion for aviation. The highlight of the evening was introducing Steve Fossett's wife, Peggy Fossett, who received a very warm welcome as she was escorted on stage. Peggy said a few brief words of thanks and then was presented the 2007 Spreading Wings Award. This seemed to sum up an evening filled with inspiration.

The Wings Over The Rockies Museum is dedicated to being the unifying force and catalyst in engaging students of all ages in mathematics and science through the inspiration of aerospace. They currently have numerous educational outreach programs as well as onsite tours, exhibits and special events. If you would like to visit the museum to experience it for yourself or would like to get involved, you can get more information at

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