Founding Father of NASFL Museum
Curator, Historian & Photographer
In 1979, Allan, along with military friends Ben Langley MCB7, Army Col. Robert Rawls, Chief Stephen Sedillo USCG, and a handful of history enthusiasts and supporters, established the 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Historical Association. Their main mission was to save from demolition at least one of the buildings from the former WWII Fort Lauderdale naval base. The group worked tirelessly for many years, and finally on May 20th of 1998, they were successful in registering Building #8 "The Link Trainer Building" on the National Register of Historic Places. In December 1999 after much work and preparation-- and joining in their preservation cause-- was Broward County Commissioner Lori Nance Parrish, whose father W.A. Nance, Jr. served in the Navy during WWII. Lori was able to locate a $200,000 grant from the Transportation Department, and just in time, the building was officially saved and moved to its permanent location at 4000 West Perimeter Road.
Restoration has continued since, to complete Allan's dream of a permanent place (Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum), to honor the service and sacrifices of those who trained here during World War II. In the course of more than 30 years, McElhiney compiled a vast amount of documents, photographs, articles, and artifacts that are on display at the Museum. He did all this without pay, with the help of members and volunteers. This World War II collection continues to grow daily, thanks to the efforts of volunteers, museum members and benefactors.
Beginning on December 5, 1989, Allan presided over the Flight 19 Memorial Ceremony-- originally celebrated at Navy Park, and more recently in the Museum building. This annual ceremony is open to the public. In December 2011, Allan McElhiney was inducted as a Broward County Pioneer, and was also awarded the Broward Navy Days Freedom Award for 2012. On December 5, 2013, he was honored with a Proclamation "The Allan McElhiney Day in Broward County" by Commissioner Chip LaMarca.
Over the past several years Allan's physical health deteriorated, limiting his activities however his keen mind and sharp wit remained. Having learned of the Honor Flight, he was invigorated by the opportunity to travel with other World War II veterans to visit the World War II, Korea, and Iwo Jima Memorials as well as the Arlington Cemetery in Washington, DC. It was obvious to his family and friends how very important this was to him. With the great help of volunteers from the non-profit organization Honor Flight South Florida, Allan made the trip of a lifetime on October 11, 2014. His joy was palpable, especially with the reception and celebration on their return that night to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
Allan McElhiney's Memorial Service took place Saturday November 15th at Broward Burial and Cremation. 1801 East Oakland Park Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Museum.