Barbara Harris-Para, of Mullica Township, has been inducted into the Atlantic County Women's Hall of Fame in the "volunteerism" category, for the outstanding contributions and countless hours of time she has given to her community.
Harris-Para, an employee at the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) William J. Hughes Technical Center, is a multiengine and instrument-rated instructor pilot. She has logged more than 3,500 flight hours, and taught more than 50 people to fly. She is an active member of the International Ninety-Nines, and chaired the 2004 Atlantic City conference for the women pilots' group.
With more than five years at the Technical Center, Harris-Para works on Freedom of Information Act compliance and in FAA community outreach programs. Before joining the FAA, she was an educator for almost 30 years, teaching seventh and eighth-grade industrial technology in Somers Point, N.J., for more than 20 of those years.
"Barbara Harris-Para is one of the most dynamic, vital people I know," said Technical Center Director Anne Harlan. "She has made valuable contributions to many Technical Center programs, and beyond that, she has touched countless lives with her extensive volunteer work in aviation and education."
"Barbara's induction into the (Atlantic County Women's) Hall of Fame is well-earned," said Betty Kennedy, Atlantic County Women's Hall of Fame Board of Trustees president. "Her contributions to our county have promoted the advancement of women and have enriched us all."
She also is a volunteer aviation safety counselor for the FAA Philadelphia Flight Standards District Office. In her five years in that role, she has produced and given safety programs and counseled many private pilots on safety issues.
Harris-Para has served on the Mullica Township School Board for the last 16 years, as president, vice president and on the negotiations, finance, transportation and liaison committees. She has served on the Atlantic County School Boards Association as president and vice president, and she represented Atlantic County on the State School Boards Association, where she established a scholarship program for accomplished students who do volunteer work.
She holds a master's degree in education and supervision from Rowan University (then Glassboro State College); an associate's degree in science and aeronautics from Thomas Edison State College; and a teaching degree in industrial arts from Trenton State College.
Her many additional volunteer activities include: mentoring area high school students, motivational speaking, and assisting area Boy Scout troops in aviation activities. She is a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association, and actively participates in its "Young Eagles" program, which gives children their first chance to experience flight in small airplanes. She has given rides to more than 250 children, over the past eight years.