Cowgirl Hall of Fame



Wings of Heroes

June 9, 2007

Wings of Heroes
Sharon's father (from left) Robert “Bob” Meffan,
Sharon Camarillo, George Abbey, Former Director
of the Johnson Space Center, and Wade Camarillo,
Sharon's son, at the opening of the exhibition.

An exciting evening was made possible by the Boeing Company to celebrate the opening of a new exhibition, Space: Exploring the New Frontier, which featured a special tribute to the birth of space flight with the groundbreaking X-15 program.

As a young girl raised in Southern California, I had little interest in the exciting programs my father was involved in, as an aeronautical engineer with Northrop Aviation. In the late 50’s and early 60’s, if you didn’t have horse or cow manure on your boots, I wasn’t much interested, although I can remember standing with my dad to try to spot Sputnik as it flew over our back yard. As I moved into my teenage years, my passion and my father’s grew farther apart. I thought there was a big difference in the aerospace industry and the country way of life I had aligned myself with. Challenges in putting a man on the moon before Russia was of little interest to this budding cowgirl.

How wrong was I! Through my involvement with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, I have had the opportunity to become friends with the former Director of NASA, George Abbey. I have found out that the interest and passion to pursue excellence in your life, whether you are an astronaut or a competitive rider, are the same. George graciously opened the door for my father, Bob, and my son, Wade, to have the opportunity to become involved in some exciting opportunities and celebrations involving my father’s first love, aviation and space exploration. This involvement included viewing Shuttle launches both at mission control in Houston and at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Wings of Heroes
My dad, Bob Meffan
with Neil Armstrong.

For me, it has been an exciting time of building and sharing family experiences and has given me the opportunity to meet many courageous and brilliant pilots and engineers who, through perseverance and fortitude, were able to see their passions become realities. These experiences remind me that we truly are only limited by the scope of our imaginations.

Our trip to Seattle was a dream come true for my father, who not only was among the honorees of the program, but who at the age of 87 had the opportunity to meet and be photographed with the one man in the world he most wanted to meet, Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon.