Kelch Aviation Museum receives $125,000 donation

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Gazette staff
Wednesday, October 11, 2017

BRODHEAD—The Kelch Aviation Museum has received a $125,000 donation from the family of Kent Joranlien for the construction of its new facility.

The donation pushes the museum past the halfway point to its $1 million goal, according to a news release.

The money will be used to build the Kent E. Joranlien Memorial Fellowship Hall in the new facility, which officials hope to start building in 2018.

Joranlien, formerly of Poynette, was an original investor when the airport was bought in 1973, according to the release. He served as airport secretary and treasurer, was a founding member of Chapter 431 of the Experimental Aircraft Association and was an active volunteer at EAA Chapter 431 fly-in events.

The aviation enthusiast died in March, according to the release.

Joranlien's wife, Sandra, wanted to create a memorial that would "properly honor his love of aviation and the Brodhead community," according to the release.

The space will serve as a gathering place for pilots, aviation enthusiasts and residents.

Joranlien's son, Ric, helped coordinate the donation, according to the release.

“Kent was one of the key people who enabled Brodhead Airport to be what it is today," Pat Weeden, executive director of the Kelch Aviation Museum, said in the release.

“Without his early leadership and guidance, we would not enjoy this world-renowned airport that was created over the past 44 years and the sense of community that it brings to pilots all over the world.”

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