John Bloom is a man of two worlds. In the first, he is a doctor, a gastroenterologist in practice since 1989. His day-to-day routine includes seeing patients, performing colonoscopies and checking in at the hospital. Except for Thursday afternoons. “Thursdays,” he says, “I usually come here, with my wife.” “Here” is the Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum where Bloom, his wife and even his two sons volunteer. He is an old soul with a penchant for sepia-toned photographs and World War II facts. In addition to helping out at the museum, he has a personal collection of hundreds of old photographs of the city he calls home. Many Fort Lauderdalians don’t know about the museum, which is located near the Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport. It was one of more than 200 buildings that made up the naval air base during World War II; George H.W. Bush trained here as a 19-year-old torpedo/bomber pilot.
“I’ve had the opportunity to literally go through everything,” Bloom says of the museum’s holdings. “Imagine you had 5,000 decks of cards and shuffled them all together and threw them in a box. That’s kind of what this place was like. Just going through these old dusty boxes and all of a sudden…”
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