USS Midway Museum volunteers are the reason behind the museum’s continued success. From docents to safety, restoration to outreach, and all the other departments in between, the collective contributions of our volunteers make the guests experience on Midway second to none.
“The Midway volunteer crew makes this ship a fun place to work,” said Laurie Switzer, Midway’s director of volunteer programs. “So many incredible personal stories and outstanding citizens. We appreciate each and every volunteer on our active roster – nearly 800 strong.”
With much joy, we bring you Midway’s Volunteers of the Month for the second quarter of 2022.
Harlan Lippincott, Ship’s Restoration – April 2022
The Midway may be a museum, but in many ways, she’s still as much a functioning Navy ship as she was when steaming the oceans of the world.
Although the ship is now permanently welded to the pier, so to speak, many of her systems have to operate properly if the museum is to open its doors to the public.
No one knows that better the Harlan Lippincott, a ship’s restoration volunteer since 2014.
Harlan, who has nearly 2,000 volunteer hours, can normally be found in the bowels of Midway keeping the carrier living and breathing. He most recently, along with other members of the ship’s restoration team, worked tirelessly to restore hundreds of feet of the low-pressure air system that supports all three of the ship’s 175,000-pound aircraft elevators. He also prepared a 100-page low-pressure air technical document with diagrams spanning the ship.
“Harlan is a quiet but dedicated volunteer warrior for Midway,” said Len Santiago, the museum’s chief engineer. “His meticulous technical skills coupled with persistent patience and a smiling face warms my heart every time I see him. He represents the best of our dedicated volunteer force that keeps Midway running every day.”
Harlan, a Navy veteran and former gun fire control technician, also contributes to Midway’s outreach and curatorial programs.
Fun fact – Harlan’s son is the executive officer of Helicopter Maritime Squadron 73 (HSM-73). Now that’s keeping the Navy “all in the family.”
Siew Chinsee, Safety – May 2022
Always with a smile. Siew Chinsee brightens every space she enters with her positive energy and can-do demeanor. And it’s the real deal.
A retired special education teacher from the Sweetwater Union High School District, Siew has become a critical member of Midway’s safety team since she began volunteering in 2019.
In just three short years, she has amassed more than 3,200 volunteer hours and is involved in a variety of important safety department functions. On any given Monday or Friday, you can find her “lighting off” the ship at 6 a.m. and closing the museum down when the last guests have departed. She also assists with a number of key safety department administrative duties including guest pass distribution and watch bill updates, as well as conducting monthly inspections as a member of the fire-bottle team.
“Siew is a dedicated safety and security volunteer who really takes pride in her work,” said Dominick Boccia, Midway’s director of safety and security. “She strives to learn all aspects of her duties. She asks great questions and is proud of her accomplishments. Siew always has a smile on her face and greets guests with enthusiasm.”
Siew is also a great help to the guest services team using her multi-lingual skills to assist with Midway visitors from Asia.
Chris Day, Docent and Speakers Bureau – June 2022
Midway communicates with its members and the general public through a diverse advertising program, consumer and social media efforts and direct marketing. However, the hidden gem of the museum’s community outreach is its speakers bureau.
In the first half of 2022, the speakers bureau team has presented to more than 2,000 members of the San Diego community at nearly 60 venues around the county.
A rising star for the bureau is Chris Day.
Chris began volunteering as a docent for Midway in 2014 and has tallied nearly 1,500 hours. He became interested in the museum because of a contract his former employer had with the museum. Chris was a senior vice president of Swinerton Builders when the company was constructing the Battle of Midway Theater.
He was so impressed with Midway, its staff and volunteers, that he decided to join the team.
Along with his docent duties, he’s stepped up to the plate in a major way to assist the speakers bureau.
“Chris stepped forward and jumped right in when we needed help,” said Dick Walker, Midway’s speakers bureau coordinator. “He didn’t hesitate to do multiple speeches all over San Diego County.
Chris, a former Navy lieutenant, was one of the first speakers to give the new presentation on the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier.