Reel Stuff Aviation Resources tapped by Army Aviation Hall of Fame to upgrade 2014 ceremony
Ron Kaplan orchestrates production honoring three at Nashville on May 5
(May 1, 2014 – Dayton, OH) When the Army Aviation Association of America (Quad-A) felt the time had come to upgrade its twenty-year-old Army Aviation Hall of Fame ceremony, it tapped Reel Stuff Aviation Resources founder, consultant Ron Kaplan, of Dayton, Ohio, to produce and direct the 2014 edition of the prestigious event.
Since 1999, Kaplan has served in various annual production and sponsorship capacities for the National Aviation Hall of Fame's (NAHF) 52-year old enshrinement dinner and ceremony, widely acclaimed as "America's Oscar Night of Aviation." A former Executive Director of the non-profit NAHF, he has produced and directed its ceremonies since 2005, the last four years as a consultant. He founded Reel Stuff Aviation Resources in 2012 to provide non-profit aviation groups with event and communication services.
Earlier this year, Quad-A selected Kaplan to produce the 21st edition of the Army Aviation Hall of Fame ceremony. It takes place Monday night, May 5th, during the three-day 2014 Army Aviation Mission Solutions Summit at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, TN. Over six hundred guests are expected in the center's grand ballroom for a black-tie dinner and the induction of three new honorees, each being recognized for outstanding individual contributions to organic Army Aviation since its establishment in July 1942.
Among numerous aspects of the show Kaplan has created in coordination with Quad-A staff is the scripting and creation of a broadcast-quality six-minute video biography on each inductee. The videos will be shown on large screens prior to the formal hall of fame medal presentation and acceptance remarks of each inductee or their family representative.
Onstage to present the medals will be Brigadier General Michael Lundy, Commanding General, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence, assisted by William Harris, Executive Director of Quad-A. They will also unveil an official portrait of each inductee to later be installed at the Army Aviation Hall of Fame display housed at Fort Rucker, Alabama. Serving as master-of-ceremonies will be former Vietnam War POW and retired Army Colonel, Dr. Hal Kushner. Kushner is Chairman of the Army Aviation Hall of Fame Board of Trustees and a former inductee.
To serve as the host and voice of the three Army Aviation Hall of Fame video-bios, Kaplan enlisted a television broadcast veteran and aviation enthusiast he has worked with many times before, former ABC-TV "Good Morning America" host, David Hartman. Another Dayton-based event and media company, Communicore, filmed Hartman's video introduction sequences at the U.S. Army Airborne & Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and provided editing services. Hartman's voiceover session was recorded at North Carolina Public Radio station WUNC in Durham, North Carolina. Communicore was additionally tasked by Kaplan and Quad-A with providing a distinctively branded stage set, lighting, and music to better highlight the organization and its three new inductees.
Quad-A informed Kaplan recently that corporate sponsorship of the dinner and ceremony sold out early, a record number of patrons will attend, and among returning Army Aviation Hall of Famers expected in the audience will be at least two former recipients of the Medal of Honor. One of the Class of 2014 honorees, the late Col. Van T. Barfoot, also earned the MOH as an infantryman in WWII. The late Barfoot's fellow inductees are retired Col. William S. Reeder, Jr., a former POW, and retired Chief Warrant Officer 5 Stephen L. Davidson. The Army careers of all three include flying combat in Vietnam and serving in numerous other global conflicts, as well as contributing to the technical, tactical and strategic growth of Army Aviation.
"I am both delighted and humbled to lead the process of upgrading Army Aviation's biggest night of the year," said Kaplan. "The more I learn about our three inductees, the more I am awed by their heroism and service. Enhancing such a storied spectacle is a fun challenge for me and my Reel Stuff team. However, this opportunity to spotlight the incredible impact the inductees have had on our nation's security – and the freedom we cherish - is not taken lightly."
Reel Stuff Aviation Resources LLC is a consultancy dedicated to supporting non-profit aviation organizations through the creation of entertaining event and media programming celebrating the people, heritage, and wonder of flight.