Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz today announced on The Scott Sands Show the City would rename Toledo Express Airport in honor of longtime NASA Flight Director Eugene F. Kranz. The idea first became public on July 24 during the Mayor's monthly "Wednesday With Wade" on WSPD (click here for story). Afternoon host Scott Sands loved the idea and has promoted the change during his daily show at least once a week since that segment. The following week, Sands asked Toledo Lucas County Port Authority CEO Paul Toth about the process to change the airport's name. Toth said it's a decision they would leave up to the City and Mayor Kapszukiewicz (click here for story). On today's "Wednesday With Wade," Sands revisited the idea with the Mayor -- click here to listen on our free iHeartRadio app or watch video of the segment below -- in which the Mayor said, "I can now truly say I believe this will happen."
No date has been set for the name change to become official; however, the Mayor tells us he would like to see it happen "this year." Toledo Lucas County Port Authority has told the Mayor they will absorb costs associated with the name change, estimated to be under $100,000.
Gene Kranz was born on August 17, 1933 in Toledo. His family owned a farm overlooking the Willys-Overland Jeep plant. Kranz became fascinated with flight while attending Central Catholic High School, where he authored a thesis entitled "The Design And Possibilities of the Interplanetary Rocket." He graduated from Central Catholic in 1951, joining NASA in 1960 after graduating from Saint Louis University and serving in the US Air Force Reserve. Kranz served as Flight Director from 1962 during the Gemini programs that launched Scott Carpenter into space through the Apollo 17 mission, including the first lunar landing with Apollo 11 and the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission. He would go on to become Director of NASA Mission Operations in 1983. He retired in 1994.
Kranz was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.