Don Brunner loved aviation and his love of it included supporting the airport that came to bear his name.
Last week, his appreciation of Waupaca’s airport was again recalled when the latest addition to the airport – the Brunner Facility Hangar – was formally dedicated.
The dedication took place Sept. 22 and was attended by members of the Brunner family.
Sue Stark said it was appropriate that the dedication took place in September. “Dad passed away three years ago this month,” she said.
Stark thanked the community, saying the building represents a team effort.
“Those who know my dad know he was a humble man. He’s smiling from above,” she said. “It’s great to know the building is here for the community.”
Her brother, Steve Brunner, said their father would have enjoyed it.
Larry Obiala, chairman of the city’s Airport Board, called the new facility the result of a combined effort of the state and the Brunner family.
He thanked the Brunner family, saying that Don had always been a great supporter of the airport.
The Brunner Facility Hangar will be used for the storage of airport equipment and will also be available for area groups to hold events.
The project began in April and was completed before the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture, which was held July 26 to Aug. 1.
The facility was used by several groups during that event. And, when pilots were unable to fly from Waupaca into Oshkosh for the event due to conditions after numerous rainfalls, those pilots camped at Waupaca’s airport.
The project at Waupaca Municipal Airport – Brunner Field was funded through entitlement funds and from money given to the airport by the Don Brunner estate.
Pete Andersen is the fixed base operator at the municipal airport who worked to see the project become a reality.
“It was a little over two years ago that we brought Pete on. It’s amazing the level the airport has risen to,” said Henry Veleker, Waupaca city administrator and clerk. “Obviously, this concept has never been tried in the state. I believe other communities are thinking about it. We didn’t spend one dollar of city money on this building.”
Mayor Brian Smith said, “This is pretty special. You know the hard times municipalities are having with budgets. We were able to use the donation from the Brunner family and entitlement funds. Look at what an asset it is.”