The signs had seen better days. Weathered from harsh New England winters and lashing summer winds, most of the large placards placed alongside aircraft on display outside the New England Air Museum looked as old as the historic machines they described — that is, until Matt Moran, junior engineer, at Circuit Breaker Sales Northeast, Inc., and his dad showed up one day last spring. They offered to make new signs free of charge using some CBSNE expertise.
The New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, houses an impressive collection of historic aviation artifacts, including a B-29 Superfortress, a Sikorsky VS-44A flying boat donated by actress Maureen O’Hara, and a hot air balloon basket built in 1870 by Silas Brooks, believed to be the nation’s oldest surviving aircraft. The more than 100 aircraft are located in hangars and outdoors. When a volunteer helped Matt’s dad fully experience the museum, the two were even more impressed.
“My father served time in the army, so he really enjoyed the military hangar,” Matt said. “To top it off, a volunteer was able to get my dad inside a helicopter, which he really enjoyed.” Seeing his dad’s joy was all it took for Matt. At that moment, he felt an overwhelming need to give back.
The following Monday, Matt went to work and asked John Namnoum, president of CBSNE, if the company would donate signs to the museum. He happily agreed. “The fact that I knew John would be behind the opportunity really speaks volumes about the nature of this company and its commitment to giving back,” Matt said.
Once John gave his seal of approval, the project took flight. “From there, I got the entire Engineering Department involved, and we really got the ball rolling. Erik Nielsen went above and beyond and came up with a phenomenal prototype sign. The museum’s curator, Nick Hurley, was blown away when he saw it,” Matt added.
Not only did CBSNE employees design and produce the signs, but they helped install them as well.
The museum, which is run by more than five times as many volunteers as staff members (25 full- and part-time employees and 134 volunteers), couldn’t have been happier. Executive Director Deborah Reed acknowledged the entire CBSNE volunteer team when she said, “Without the selflessness of volunteers, and thoughtful donations like the one you’ve given us, the New England Air Museum would be nothing more than a couple of big buildings full of airplanes. It’s only through the kindness and hard work of people like [those at CBSNE] that it becomes more than that.” The museum’s goals are to preserve aircraft and to educate, inspire, and engage visitors. With new signage, learning about the aircraft parked outdoors is now a whole lot more engaging.