Air show’s high honors for service

Pilots Jim Tobul and Scott Yoak are part of the Class of 45 portion of the Dunkirk air show this weekend.

On the weekend before the Fourth of July, pilots Jim Tobul and Scott Yoak will be part of an all-American display at the Dunkirk-Lake Shore Air Show, which takes place along the waterfront from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Both are aviators of the planes that make up the “Class of 45.” Tobul is owner of the Corsair “Korean War Hero” and Yoak has the Mustang “Quick Silver. “ According to the pilots, the aircrafts were the “pinnacle of military technology at the time” as both were built in 1945.

The planes were a part of World War II and the Korean War — and the pilots want the veterans who attend the show to know their gratitude in serving the United States.

“My aircraft is painted up as a memorial, an honorary showcase for all of those who have served,” Yoak said in addressing the Rotary Club of Dunkirk-Fredonia on Thursday at Shorewood Country Club.

Tobul’s Corsair served as a military plane until the late 1970s. After more than a decade of not being used, Tobul and his father restored the aircraft in the early 1990s.

“Think about all the people behind me who flew that aircraft and had their feet on the same rudder pedals,” he said. “It’s a piece of history and I continue to share that history with people.”

There was plenty of sacrifice by U.S. troops during the years those planes were utilized by the military. It continues today as well — from those overseas and protecting our homeland.

Tobul and Yoak take to the skies for their portion of the two-hour show around 3:30 to 3:45 p.m.

“We’re flying two iconic aircraft and we get to fly them together,” Tobul said. “When you have a teammate, you really have to start to connect. …

“I feel like we’re one element when we’re up there. … That gives me a comfort and a safety factor, if you will, of flying with somebody of that type and that close.”

No damper on sales

Volunteers on Tuesday for our special edition sale to benefit The Resource Center and Laurel Run came prepared for the worst. Many were in raincoats. Some had umbrellas. Others, especially those from the Fredonia High School basketball team, just braved the elements to help raise funds.

In all, the total donations hit $2,000. Very impressive for a day filled with unpredictable weather.

Those volunteering in Dunkirk, Forestville, Fredonia, Gowanda and Silver Creek to sell papers included: Rayele Bartholomew, Marlene Branigan, Sue Britt, Lisa Campbell, Heather Courtney, Charlie Denard,Kala Farley, Bob Geffert, Elaine Hotelling, Wayne Hotelling.

Nancy Ingram, Bill Kraft, Liz Kraft, Greg Krauza, Greg Lauer, Bruce Main, Brayden Myers, Becky Mirek, Owen Nicosia, John Olsezewski, Nancy Palmer, Peter Palmer, Taylor Palmer, Jessica Pietrkiewicz, Brendan Plaister, Nico Pucci, David Rice, Sandra Rice, Parker Rivera, Steve Schmidt.

Also, Nate Shuart, Suzette Smith, John Stonefoot, Laurie Strong, Trey Swartz, Reid Tarnowski, Matt Tintsman, Amber Torrey, Christine Twoguns, Jim Tytka Sr., Steve Waterson, Shelly Williamson, Evelyn Wright-Kegelmyer, Gloria Yeager and Jane Young.

This year’s Laurel Run takes place in two weeks — on July 14 and 15. A relay from Jamestown to Dunkirk gets the event under way, finishing at Washington Park on the afternoon of July 14. The next day, the race is on. Visit for more information or to sign up.

John D’Agostino is the OBSERVER publisher. Send comments to or call 366-3000, ext. 401.