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“Voices of Valor” documentary video series earns director/producer team 12th Annual NAHF Combs Gates Award

Jon Tennyson and Scott Guyette to receive $20,000 prize from
National Aviation Hall of Fame at NBAA Convention 

(Dayton, OH – September 8, 2014)  The National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) announced today that a series of one-hour documentary biographies titled “Voices of Valor” has earned writer/director Jon Tennyson and producer/director of cinematography, Scott Guyette of Green Lake, Wisconsin its 12th Annual Combs Gates Award.  The two will be presented the $20,000 award during a luncheon October 21st at the 2014 National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Annual Meeting & Convention in Orlando, Florida.  Presenting the award will be representatives of the NAHF Board of Trustees as well as several Hall of Fame enshrinees.

According to their application, “‘Voices of Valor’ is a series of one-hour video documentaries based on the personal narratives of people who have flown in harm’s way to defend their countries, advanced humankind’s knowledge and mastery of flying, or advanced our understanding of science and our universe in general.”

The first episode of the series to be completed, “To Fly and Fight: An American Life” – a biopic of the life of C.E. “Bud” Anderson – was submitted by Tennyson and Guyette for review by the national six-member committee judging the competition. Anderson, a WWII triple ace and former Air Force test pilot, was enshrined by the NAHF in 2008.  Future episodes now in post-production will feature several more NAHF enshrinees and noted aviators, including Robert A. “Bob” Hoover, the late David Lee “Tex” Hill, and the late Robin Olds.  The series is not yet in distribution.

Upon learning of the honor, Tennyson said, “This is not just a thrill for us, but for our entire team at Sleeping Dog Productions, especially Scott Guyette, the producer and director of photography, and for executive producer Diane Fagen of the Fagen Fighters World War II Museum, without whom the documentary could not have been completed.   I think the award also speaks to the inspiring aviators we feature in ‘Voices of Valor’. It has been a matchless honor to meet these heroes and document their stories, in their own words.  The Combs Gates Award validates the importance of recording, preserving and sharing their legacies for the generations yet to come.”

The prestigious Combs Award, its original title, grew out of a donation to the NAHF by the late Harry Combs, a 1996 enshrinee of the Hall of Fame.  As part of his generous $1.3 million gift toward the creation of a NAHF research center, Combs stipulated that the Combs Award be established to encourage and support relevant aviation history research and preservation efforts.  A panel of expert judges reviews each submission based upon criteria such as historical accuracy, creativity, potential for long-term impact, and value to the Hall of Fame mission of honoring America’s outstanding air and space pioneers.

Combs was instrumental to the growth and development of business aviation. Consequently the NAHF partnered with the NBAA to host the award presentation at its annual meeting and convention, the largest purely civil aviation event in the world.   The inaugural award was presented at the Opening General Session of the NBAA Meeting & Convention in 2003, the 100th anniversary of the first powered flight.

John Gates and his sister, Diane G. Wallach, are co-trustees of the Gates Frontiers Fund, created by their late parents and philanthropists, Charles C. and June S. Gates.  The late Mr. Gates, who passed away in 2005 at age 84, was a partner with Combs in several aviation businesses including the Combs Gates FBO chain and Gates Learjet.  This year marks the tenth year for the award and the seventh year with the name changed to reflect a multi-year commitment by the Gates Frontiers Fund to fund the award.

The award pays homage to Gates’ belief in the benefit of historic preservation and study, and to Combs’ own research efforts behind his acclaimed 1979 book, Kill Devil Hill: Discovering the Secrets of the Wright Brothers.  Combs was inspired to write the book after close friend and fellow NAHF enshrinee, Neil Armstrong, presented him a bound collection of the Wright Brothers’ personal papers.

Combs died in December 2003 at age 90.  During the inaugural award ceremony at the NBAA convention held a month before his passing, Combs remarked, “Just as Neil’s gift inspired me to discover the secrets of the Wrights, I want to motivate a new generation of historians, researchers and preservationists to continue the process of clarifying and preserving our nation’s amazing air and space history for generations to come.”

To find out more about the NAHF or to secure an application for next year’s Combs Gates Award, please contact the NAHF Harry B. Combs Research Department at (937) 256-0944, Ext. 10, or visit www.nationalaviation.org.

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Media Contact:

Ron Kaplan                                                     TEL: (937) 256-0944 x16
NAHF Enshrinement Director                             CEL: (937) 212-8847
[email protected]