Hometown Heroes--Mighty Eighth Historical Society

Paul Grasse gives a tour to a group of young people.
Paul Grasse gives a tour to a group of young people.

A trip to Savannah's Mighty Eighth Air Force Heritage Museum is always an experience to remember. The people who really make it come to life are the volunteers who give the guided tours, some of the real war heroes who served during World War II.

Tour guide Paul Grasse really knows what he's talking about. During World War II, he flew a B-24 helping to destroy the Nazi war machine. Now he and many others who served with him spend several hours a week as volunteer guides.

"The thrill about working here is I think I get more out of it than the visitors do, because we get some terrific people in here," he said.

All of the volunteers are members of the Mighty Eighth Historical Society. President Bud Porter was a ball turret gunner in the B-17, where the action was fast and furious and very dangerous.

"It was a great period of history and I have no qualms talking about it," he said.

The historical society has about 100 members. Around 80 of them are active here at the museum. "The volunteers have been with the museum since before the ground was broken in 1994," said volunteer coordinator Lee Maltenfort. "They've been the support and the backbone of this facility to make a lot of things that staff could not have afforded to do."

"The bottom line is we're teaching and I feel that we are making a contribution," said Grasse.

For all they do to bring bring the museum to life for thousands of visitors every year, the members of the Mighty Eighth Historical Society are this week's WTOC Hometown Heroes.

If you'd like to nominate a Hometown Hero, you can drop us a line at the station: PO Box 8086, Savannah, GA 31412, or email  rwallace@wtoc.com.

Reported by: Ron Wallace, rwallace@wtoc.com