Mert Taylor, EAA 156, has been around EAA since nearly the beginning. Years later, he’s still finding ways to volunteer with the organization. When Mert was 21 years old in 1953, he attended one of the first EAA meetings in Milwaukee at Curtiss-Wright Field (now Lawrence J. Timmerman Airport) and has been to every fly-in convention since then.
A welder by trade, Mert was a natural when it came to building airplanes. He has built six airplanes himself, but he was also busy working and couldn’t spend much time at fly-in conventions. However, he did manage to come for at least a day or two every year. About 20 years ago, Mert finally had the time to really start volunteering at AirVenture and has been at the Communications Center every year. Since then, he’s helped with the fabrication of parts and is a bit of a handyman.
“I guess I’d be called more a troubleshooter,” Mert said. “I designed and made fixtures to hold the speakers, and lights, and things on poles. Some of those I made at home and brought them up here. Some of them I made in a shop up here.”
As someone who’s been involved with EAA since 1953, Mert has seen the organization grow immensely. However, he’s still passionate about volunteering for the same reason he was when he started.
“I think it’s probably the people,” he said. “I think Paul was right. You see more people are willing to volunteer, and the standard of excellence they’ve developed and they’re proud to be part of EAA. I guess that’s, to sum it up, that’s about the only thing I can say. … I never imagined that it would be anything like this. When we started out, I really had a very small part of it, because I’m trying to put together a business, a farm business. Raising five children and putting them through college is not an easy chore. We managed it, and EAA has grown far beyond what we ever expected it to.”