The Rise Above exhibit about the Tuskegee Airmen (dot 3401) was in town partially to raise awareness for a fund-raising campaign to commemorate a local Airman. Robert L. Martin is a hometown boy who joined the elite Red Tail Squadron, and there is an effort underway to rename the airport terminal in his honor.

It sounds simple, doesn’t it? You just change the name. But — like with the Squadron itself — nothing is ever easy. The FAA and the Federal government were involved. The Regional Airport Commission and City Council had to pass motions. Federal funds cannot be used so IRS a petition for non-profit recognition was filed.

It became more than just a name change. You need an impressive outdoor sign. That requires architectural design fees and sign construction. You need indoor signs and an educational video (or what’s the point if no one knows about him?). It has turned into a big project with many grassroots fundraising efforts.

I am confident those involved will “triumph over adversity” as the Red Tails themselves did but use their experience as an example in your own work. Turning a “great idea” into reality isn’t easy to do. If the idea is worth pursuing (as this one is), you need to commit to it for the long haul and take satisfaction from the wins at each stage. Stay focused on the individual battles and don’t let complexity win the war.

Captain Robert L. Martin’s daughters in town as part of a fundraising effort in conjunction with the Rise Above exhibit

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