Astronauts hope to inspire others

Two astronauts with ties to Ohio came to Wapakoneta this weekend to help commemorate the 45th anniversary of Neil Armstrong landing on the moon.

Active astronaut Suni Williams and former astronaut and space shuttle pilot Greg Johnson participated in several activities at this past weekend’s Summer Moon Festival, including an autograph signing, the Run to the Moon 5/10k and tours at the Armstrong Air and Space Museum. The pair signed about 150 separate awards for race winners, sent the runners off at the start of the race and welcomed them back at the finish line.

Williams and Johnson were also treated to lunch at Neil Armstrong’s former home, now owned by Karen Tullis.

Johnson, who is participating in the Summer Moon Festival for the third time, said Neil Armstrong was his boyhood hero.

"Neil Armstrong was truly my No. 1 inspiration,” Johnson said, “so when I got the opportunity to get involved with this museum it was so meaningful to me.”

Williams said she was excited to step foot in the town where Neil Armstrong grew up.

“It’s very much an honor to be here,” she said. “I hope I’m following a little bit in his footsteps.”

This past weekend was Williams’ first time in Wapakoneta. On Thursday, she attended the downtown portion of the festival and participated in a contest where participants competed to see who could hold a full mug of beer the longest.

“It was pretty hard,” she said. “I think I lasted about two minutes.”

For the full story, see the Monday, July 21 edition of the Wapakoneta Daily News.