The Museum Curator was Robert Tidwell. If memory serves, Robert held a Masters degree in History from Texas Tech University. I can’t remember exactly the type of history, but I do remember he was very knowledgeable about the Vietnam War. Robert was your typical museum type and I personally feel the decision to let Robert go was a huge mistake and loss to Silent Wings. He was dedicated to creating and relating not only accurate but engaging exhibits and information. I know he was deeply involved in all the original research for signage and display purposes prior to the museum opening. He and Mark had a unique relationship, to say the least. Robert has since received his Doctorate and is now Curator of Historic Collections at the Ranching Heritage Center here in Lubbock.
The Museum Manager was Joe Hays. Joe had moved to Lubbock from New Orleans and was attending Texas Tech University. He and his wife both were interested in Indian culture and history. Like Robert, Joe was a good fit for the museum and accomplished many positive steps forward for Silent Wings. However, there came a time when Joe and I had a parting of the ways regarding staffing, and I left The City of Lubbock to pursue other interests. Will left at about the same time, and it is my understanding Joe left within the next year. I feel this is testament to the fact that the Museum had no direction and little to no support from the City after Mark Earle had left. I had my doubts that Mr. Loomis (Airport manager at the time, now City Manager) had any interest whatsoever in running a Museum. In my opinion, he certainly lacked the management over site necessary to run a facility where he was not present nor involved in the daily operations.
The Administrative Assistant was myself, Rehj Hoeffner. I had been working at the Lubbock Police Department. After a huge restructuring within the department, my Captain was assigned to a different section, and I decided it was time to move on. I interviewed at Silent Wings and was hired the follow week. The whole ‘museum world’ was new to me. Additionally, there was no real definition as to the job title, and I soon found out that the position was a catch all for anything and everything that came along. When I walked into my office, I saw a kitchen table and chair that was to serve as my desk! There were no files and certainly no filing cabinet! After my initial shock, I sat about securing donated office equipment as well as donating several personal computers to the Museum. I set up files and started the financial records.
The part-time Education / Outreach Director was Will . I think he had just graduated from Texas Tech, or just finishing up his degree, I can’t remember. He was a young and energetic guy who tried really hard to organize the volunteers and reach out to the community. His hours were very limited and once Robert’s position was eliminated, Will ended up working the weekends operating the Museum so that Joe could have a weekend day off. With time spent actually working the museum, that left little time for Will to continue to work on the real scope of his job. Will left about the same time I did.
We had several Texas Tech interns that came and went and many of them are near and dear to my heart. Of particular note was Tara Wilson. Tara was from Roswell, NM; a place I had once lived for about 5 years. Tara was a student in Lubbock going to Texas Tech. She became almost like my adopted daughter, with her parents still in Roswell, I was a friendly face with some working knowledge of her home town. I always looked forward to her days at the museum. I was shocked and devastated when I learned of her death at a local Lubbock restaurant when the roof collapsed in March of 2006. I think of her often, as well as her friend, Katy who was also an intern at the museum.
And then there are the many many volunteers that crossed our paths through the museum. Without the volunteers I’m not quite sure how the museum would have continued daily operations. We had several that had regular schedules and showed up to work without fail. They were all very kind and generous and it was obvious they loved the time they spent at the museum sharing their knowledge and expertise with the visitors. They were truly a God-send and we tried to always make sure they knew how much we appreciated their work!