Ask David B. O'Maley to describe a few of his favorite things, and the conversation will quickly turn to talk of wingspans, fuselage and hydraulics.

The affable chairman, president and chief executive officer of Ohio National Financial Services, makes no secret of his passion. Indeed, he's created a very public museum for it: The Tristate Warbird Museum in Batavia.

"Right now we have a total of five that are flying," says '™Maley of the World War II era fighter planes, housed in a complex which opened a year ago at the Clermont County Airport. "Plus we have two that are in restoration."

'™Maley points to piles of aircraft parts that will eventually come together as a Chance-Vought (Goodyear) FG-1D Corsair. "When that's done and put together, it will be one of 12 in the world flying."

The Tristate Warbird Museum also features a North American Aviation AT-6D Texas trainer, a Grumman TBM-3 Avenger torpedo bomber, a twin-engine TB-25J Mitchell bomber, a Boeing PT-17 Stearman, and more.

His favorite warbird in the collection? "I guess I'm attached to Cincinnati Miss," responds '™Maley, pointing to a North American Aviation P-51D Mustang, a single-seat fighter powered by a supercharged Merlin engine. "We took Cincinnati Miss from a pile of rubble and restored it. I just flew it on Saturday."

Yes, '™Maley is a pilot as well as a CEO. He loves to spend weekends buzzing around town"”literally. "If I'm flying Cincinnati Miss anywhere near you, you'll hear it, believe me."

'™Maley's day job is running Ohio National, where he was elected to his current position in 1994. He first joined the company two years before that, as executive vice president and chief marketing officer, after 24 years in various roles at Life of Virginia. '™Maley also serves on the boards of U.S. Bancorp, the Midland Company and Cincinnati Country Day School; in 1996, he chaired the United Way campaign. He and his wife, Karen, have three children: David Jr., Megan and Katherine.

The Montgomery company specializes in life insurance, asset accumulation products and services such as annuities. The $20-billion firm, which has experienced 16 consecutive years of sales growth, is among the top 30 individual life insurance providers in the nation.

Area families, of course, know the company's campus as the home of the annual Ohio National Victorian Holiday Village, a free festival which features music, cookies and hot chocolate, and miniature homes decorated for Christmas.
Both at work and off of it, '™Maley shows a keen interest in families in the community. He observes that a crucial part of the Tristate Warbird Museum's mission is education and enlightenment concerning the World War II era. Veteran volunteers teach school groups and others in workshops at the museum's classroom. "Relationships during that period were very intense," says '™Maley. "That common, shared experience is evident (in the volunteers). Within 2 or 3 minutes, you'd think these veterans had known each other for 20 years."

The museum wants to make sure that this and future generations of school kids don't forget the "greatest generation." "Truly, today, you have the freedom to say and write what you want because of what they did."

Included in the tour is a recreation of a  Quonset hut like something out of the movie Twelve '™Clock High, depicting the living quarters of members of the 353rd fighter group based in England; the barracks is historically accurate with the exception that the creators of the diorama used plastic instead of corrugated metal. "We even painted rust stains on the exterior bolts," says '™Maley. "I found a lot of this stuff everywhere, some of it on eBay. What we've tried to do is create an educational experience."

"The idea is to talk to them about what life was like and how as a society, as a free world, we came together as closely as we did."
 
The Tristate Warbird Museum is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays, 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays. Admission is $12, $7 children, free for WWII veterans.  At Clermont County Airport, intersection of Armstrong Boulevard, Glenn Parkway and Borman Drive, Batavia, 513/735-4500, www.tri-statewarbirdmuseum.org.


Volunteer Ben Vaughn shows visitors the cockpit of the B-25 at the Tristate Warbird Museum.
Visitors look at the AT-6D Texas trainer at the Tristate Warbird Museum.