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Arizona Heart & Sol: History buff lends skill set to local museum

KOLD News 6-6:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Feb. 10, 2022 at 7:32 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Every Thursday, KOLD News 13 partners with Casino Del Sol to highlight people and organizations who are helping others in southern Arizona.

This week, we recognize a dedicated docent at the 390th Memorial Museum who helps bring history back to life and provides missing details to long lost family stories.

Patti Midon is a military aviation history buff. That’s why she volunteers once a week, usually every Wednesday, at the 390th Memorial Museum located on the ground of the Pima Air and Space Museum.

“We take guests through the museum and discuss the history of the 390th Bombardment Group,” she explains.

Based in England during WWII, the 390th Bombardment Group flew 301 combat missions against German military targets. The 390th Bomb Group’s bombing accuracy was at times the best in the 8th Air Force and is recognized for helping to win the war.

The center piece of the museum, a B-17 Bomber, the same type of aircraft used by the 390th. Known as the Flying Fortress, it remains an icon of American intelligence, resilience and achievement, along with the crew members who gave their all.

And now, all these decades later, Patti is preserving the heroic actions of the young airmen who served so bravely, “the story of the airmen and the sacrifices they made for the 390th Bomb Group during WWII.”

On occasion, a visitor may mention a family member served in the 390th but doesn’t know many details. Using her data and research skills, Patti can usually find information on the veteran and fill in some gaps on family history

“And sometimes if they have a relative that was active in the 8th Air Force we can help them find information on their loved one and the planes they were serving on,” she said.

Those newfound details sometimes lead to emotional tears of joy and discovery.

“It’s great, it’s great to just make that connection and to help them build their story,” she said.

Because of her volunteer work, Patti receives a $300 gift card courtesy of Casino Del Sol, “wow, me? Wow. That’s amazing. That’s awesome. What an honor.”

And she already knows what she’s going to do with it.

“I’ll give it to the museum because it’s not just me. There are approximately 40 of us, I’d have to check that number to be sure, and some of the docents have been here for years and years and years, so this is definitely not about me,” she says with a laugh.

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