Brenham Forty-four years ago Saturday, NASA made history with Apollo 11 landing on the moon. This anniversary is special to one Brenham man who not only watched the landing, but helped achieve one of the greatest advances of mankind.
Eighty-eight year old Art Hinners and his wife Smitty, can remember exactly where they were when Neil Armstrong took his first step on the moon.
"There's Apollo 11," Art said pointing to an aged picture in a photo book. "That's many years ago; that was 1969. I looked a little different back then, didn't I?"
They not only witnessed history, their family helped make it. Art played a key role in the success of the Apollo 11 moon walk, but remains humble of the success he helped the program achieve.
"We're just regular people," Art said. "We're all just doing a job. We were all hired by NASA to do a particular job."
Art began his career in 1947 with the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, or NACA, which later became known as NASA. As an engineer with NASA, Art designed and trained the astronauts with a mechanical device, the centrifuge, that taught the astronauts about the effects of gravity.
"Total dedication," Art said of his co-workers at NASA. "We did everything we could to succeed."
Besides meeting Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon, one of his favorite memories during his time with NASA was reuniting with the Astronauts when they returned. Astronaut Jim Lovell invited the Hinners over to view the first pictures ever taken on the moon.
"Drinking champagne, eating horderves; it was like a party," Art said thinking back to the days of celebration.
With his wife of nearly 66 years by his side, the couple looks back at priceless photos of America's and Art's past. "You regard it as history," Art said. "In our lives, it's just normal life."
The photos are priceless because they hold precious memories that define American culture and their family history."It's very satisfactory to know something you worked on worked," Art said.
The Hinners are currently retired and live in Kruse Village, where Art can be found at any time in his wood shop.