For Cecil Griffith, a patient of Ohio’s Community Mercy Hospice, visiting the National Museum of the United States Air Force was high on his bucket list.
He had been a mechanic in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War, and he wanted to see the museum again. It had been more than 40 years since he visited the museum, which is now the world’s largest and oldest military aviation museum featuring aerospace vehicles and missiles.
So, when he met Maxine Shroyer, an approved volunteer driver and visitor with Ohio’s Community Mercy Hospice, he mentioned that he would like to visit the Air Force museum to see some of the planes he had worked on and heard about from others.
“When he told me that he had been an Air Force mechanic and wanted to see the museum, I told him I would be happy to take him to the museum,” she said. “I knew just where to take him in the buildings.”
Because Griffith, who is 88, suffers from heart disease, he and Shroyer had to reschedule a couple of times because he felt too ill to go. But the third time was a charm.
“Visiting the National Museum of the United States Air Force was on my bucket list,” said Griffith, who lives in Springfield with his wife, Helen. “I appreciated Maxine taking me, and she did a wonderful job.”
Shroyer and Griffith visited the various galleries, including the Korean War Gallery, for more than three hours. While he did not see the actual plane he worked on, he saw a model of the plane, a Douglas C-54 Skymaster, along with the B-36 bomber and numerous other planes. He also saw the Huey helicopter.
“After serving in the Air Force, I eventually returned home to Champaign County, where I worked for a manufacturer making helicopter transmission parts for the Huey helicopter,” Griffith said. “It was totally amazing to look at the Huey helicopter. I had built so many transmissions.”
He also toured the Presidential Gallery and saw the Douglas VC-54C Skymaster, the first aircraft built specifically to fly President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was the first U.S. president to fly in an airplane.
Shroyer was happy she could help fulfill Griffith’s dream of returning to the National Museum of the United States Air Force. “As I walked around with Cecil, it was like reliving his Air Force career,” she said. “He was thrilled to be there.”