Forrest Bird, 86, father of the modern-day respirator and founder of the new the Bird Aviation Museum and Invention Center near Sandpoint, will be profiled by CBS correspondent Morley Safer on "60 Minutes" Sunday night.
Bird's invention "has saved millions of lives," while he is "still living his life to the fullest, flying his airplanes and working 12-hour days," according to a plug for the show, which will air at 7 p.m. on KREM.
Safer spent two days interviewing Bird and his wife, Pam, in May at their home near Sagle, as well as talking with people saved by Bird's respirators, said Jo Rublee, quality assurance manager with Percussionaire Corp., the marketing arm of Bird's respirator manufacturing business.
Bird developed the first highly reliable, affordable respirator to be mass-produced for medical use. His second invention, the "Babybird" respirator, is credited with reducing the infant mortality rate from 70 percent among infants with breathing problems to less than 10 percent worldwide.
Both inventions were spawned from research Bird did as a pilot in World War II developing breathing apparatuses to keep pilots functioning at high altitudes.
Bird, who has lived in the area since the early 1960s, and his wife opened the aviation museum and invention center over the summer. It includes flight exhibits and invention displays the couple hopes will inspire children to study math and science and to create.
The free museum is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It will close for the season Oct. 14, but groups still may arrange tours in the off-season. Call (208) 255-4321 or go to www.birdaviationmuseum.com.