Homebuilding’s Perseverance Award


I caught up with EAA’s Charlie Becker—which is easy to do as he drags around the weighty title Director for Chapters & Communities and the Manager of the Homebuilt Community—at AirVenture’s Homebuilding Headquarters. The conversation turned quickly to homebuilding’s Perseverance Award, which recognizes EAA members who “..have pursued, with stamina and tenacity, the ultimate fulfillment of building an aircraft no matter how long it took.” The award, a wooden plaque, is given to homebuilders the first year they register their homebuilt at AirVenture. The story behind the award—formerly a ribbon, formerly a Snoopy toy—is worth telling.

At the 1977 EAA Fly-in Dr. Bergon “Doc” Brokaw displayed his Brokaw Bullet for the first time, to the delight of thousands. The grass around Doc’s Bullet lay trampled, earning the aircraft the unofficial “dead grass” award. While the Bullet attracted throngs, Doc’s wife, known fondly as “Miss Buddy,” noticed the nearby aircraft were largely ignored. She knew each of those aircraft represented someone’s tireless effort, over many years, to complete as well as the effort needed to fly it to Oshkosh. To recognize those efforts, she began placing Snoopy toys on each aircraft. Her effort continued year after year and became known as the Brokaw Perseverance Award. In time the Snoopy toys were replaced by yellow ribbons. Today, EAA continues the tradition begun by Miss Buddy by presenting a plaque and baseball cap to all EAA members registering their homebuilt at AirVenture for the first time. Be warned, however, the homebuilt registration team presents both with a song written specifically for the occasion.

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Kerry Fores
Kerry Fores was born and raised in Oshkosh, WI and was interested in homebuilding by age 12. Between 1998 and 2003 he scratchbuilt and polished a Sonex, which he named Metal Illness. Kerry logged nearly 500 hours in Metal Illness and was awarded Plans Built Champion at AirVenture 2006. Kerry is retired from a 21-year career at Sonex Aircraft, most of it dedicated to supporting builders. Kerry is on the web at thelifeofdanger.com.


  1. Awesome story! I remember getting my “Perseverance Award” after a long 5 year build in 2010. It really helped make my Oshkosh visit special! Currently finishing up a new project with a friend I hope we can fly to Airventure 2024!

  2. The Brokaw song made my day. Wish I’d been ready to get a video of it. My partners had been working on our RV for 12 years, me only 2, but the award felt well deserved after many hours of running wire, crimping terminals, and riveting nutplates.


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