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Mid-Atlantic Air Museum scholarship honors memory of longtime employee

Russ Strine said that within just a few days of meeting Brenda Saylor he realized there was something very special about her.

Her head was in the clouds.

Saylor was obsessed with aviation. That was something Strine, the founder and president of the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum, recognized clearly when Saylor became a volunteer at the museum in 1997.

Flying was something that Saylor came to a bit late in life. But once it hooked her, she dove in headfirst.

She became a licensed pilot at the age of 39 in 1991. For 29 years she owned a 1940 Boeing Stearman biplane that had been a World War II primary training aircraft.

And when she joined the museum, she had just graduated from Pennsylvania College of Technology with a certification as an aircraft mechanic.

Realizing her devotion to and expertise in aviation, Strine invited Saylor to become the museum’s principal aircraft mechanic. Strine said it was a job that she excelled at.

In 2003, Strine said Saylor agreed to help run the museum office and played a big part in helping to organize the annual World War II Weekend at Reading Regional Airport.

Their shared love of flying led Strine and Saylor to become longtime companions, nearly inseparable for the past two decades.

In May, Saylor passed away.

“It’s with my deepest sadness that I must announce the passing of my sweetheart, life partner and absolute love of my life,” Strine said at a recent airport authority meeting, wiping away tears.

Strine attended the meeting to announce his plans to honor Saylor’s memory by creating the Brenda E. Saylor Memorial Scholarship at Pennsylvania College of Technology, which will provide support for students pursuing an education in aircraft maintenance.

The scholarship will be awarded to students who reside in Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon or York counties.

Strine said the scholarship program is the best way he could think of to honor Saylor because it combines her passion for aviation and her appreciation for the education she received at Pennsylvania College of Technology. He said he’s confident she would have approved of the idea.

The scholarship will be funded initially with about $10,000 in donations the museum received from about 65 of her friends and family following her death. The airport authority also agreed to donate $1,000.

Source: Berkshire mont

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