Ozzie ‘Rocket Hobo’ Osband to Be Honored During 321 Day at Space View Park in Titusville on March 21

By  //  March 9, 2024

In Memory of Robert “Ozzie” Osband, Father of 321 Area Code

WATCH: Gabriel Rothblatt, a member of the Board of Directors of the National Space Society, talks with the Friday Night Locker Room‘s Steve Wilson about 321 Day, which will be held on Thursday, March 21, at Space View Park, 10 Broad Street, Titusville, Florida. Festivities start at 3:21 p.m., to celebrate the life of Robert “Ozzie” Osband,” the “Father of 321 Area Code.”

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – As most everyone knows, the Brevard County area code is 321. It was not always that though; it was previously 407. Who came up with the idea of making it 321? Well, it was none other than Robert “Ozzie” Osband, also known as, the “Rocket Hobo.”

On Thursday, March 21, at Space View Park, 10 Broad Street, Titusville, Florida, at 3:21 p.m., Osband will be remembered during 321 Day, which is co-sponsored by the American Space Museum and the National Space Society.

An Army Veteran, he was a long-time volunteer and fixture in the Titusville Community. Osband died unexpectedly in his sleep on August 6, 2023.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Gabriel Rothblatt, a member of the Board of Directors of the National Space Society, about Osband and 321 Day.

321 Day will be held on Thursday, March 21, 2024, at Space View Park (pictured), 10 Broad Street, Titusville, FL. Festivities start at 3:21 p.m., to celebrate the life of Robert “Ozzie” Osband,” the “Father of 321 Area Code.” (Image: American Space Museum)

I asked Rothblatt how the 321-area code is connected to Osband. He told me that Osband, “petitioned, as a citizen space advocate, to create 321, which gave the foundation for the Space Coast branding.”

According to the American Space Museum, “Other areas wanted it (321 area code), but Ozzie single-handedly campaigned a year through the proper government hurdles to install “321” on the Space Coast and leave “407” with Orlando. On Nov. 1, 1999, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush placed the first official “321” phone call from Tallahassee to Kennedy Space Center, with Ozzie sitting beside the deputy director receiving the call.”

Rothblatt is very excited and looking forward to not only honoring Osband, but to 321 Day as well. He told me they will be creating a memorial to Ozzie at Space View Park in Titusville. There will be his lawn chair, his famous green shirt, photos and much more.

321 Day will be held on Thursday, March 21, 2024, at Space View Park (pictured), 10 Broad Street, Titusville, FL. Festivities start at 3:21 p.m., to celebrate the life of Robert “Ozzie” Osband,” (pictured) the “Father of 321 Area Code.” (Image: American Space Museum)

AGENDA FOR 321 DAY (courtesy of American Space Museum)

3:21 p.m. Gathering: The celebration of Ozzie’s life will begin with an informal gathering of friends at 3:21 p.m. at Space View Park, where Ozzie’s lawn chair and famous green polo shirt will be placed for final respects. (The park is where he sold his “Rocket Hobo” patches and reached thousands of people with launch updates, countdowns, and the occasional, “SCRUB!”)

4:00 p.m. Live Broadcast: At 4:00 p.m., a special episode of the “Stay Curious” video podcast honoring Ozzie will be broadcast live on YouTube from Space View Park. Docents from the Museums of Brevard will have the remaining “Rocket Hobo” cloth patches available for donations made payable to the “American Space Museum.”

Move To Block Party at Welcome Center: Once mourners have paid their respects at the Park, they are invited to follow museum docents to the Titusville Welcome Center, where at 5 p.m., Mayor Dan Diesel will read a proclamation in honor of Titusville’s most iconic character and inaugurate the best block party in the galaxy, Florida’s Space Coast homegrown holiday 3-2-1 Day “Tomorrow launches here!”

There will be food trucks and adult beverages for sale, as well as exhibitors representing many of the causes for which Ozzie volunteered. There will be a performance by Interstellar Groove Machine, a local Space Coast band composed of aerospace employees.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Steve Wilson moved to Brevard County in 1984 and has been a partner, along with Orville Susong, for the past 24 years with the Friday Night Locker Room, a broadcasting team that covers and reports on a wide variety of local events that are of significance to the residents of the Space Coast and beyond. Their mission is to promote youth sports and the space industry, support first responders and law enforcement personnel, and showcase community and charitable events that are produced by our nonprofit partners in central Florida.

Steve Wilson was born in DeRidder, Louisiana and grew up in both New Orleans and Macon, Georgia.  He moved to Brevard County in 1984 and retired from local government as the Community Advocate/Assistant to the City Manager with the City of Rockledge in 2018.

Among the awards and accolades Steve has received over the years are 15 + year Rockledge Little League volunteer, Brevard Public School Jefferson Award Recipient, Rockledge High School Raider Booster Award 2001, 2006, City of Rockledge Employee of the Year 2006, Rockledge Kiwanian of the Year 2006-2007, City of Rockledge Quality Public Service Award 2008, 2012, 2017, Rockledge Kiwanis Citizen of the Year 2012-2013, Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame – Sportscasting 2015, Rockledge High School Leadership and Service Award 2016, Central Florida Humanitarian Award 2017, Space Coast Inspiration Award – 2018,  Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame – Lifetime Achievement – 2020, Ecofest Achievement Award – 2022, Quality Floridian Award – 2022, presented by U.S. Congressman Bill Posey.

Wilson is especially proud of his chairing two fundraisers in support of pediatric cancer research through the St. Baldrick’s Foundation in honor of Merritt Island resident Julie Spurlock that raised over $25,000.00.

He has been a partner, along with Orville Susong, for the past 24 years with the Friday Night Locker Room, a broadcasting team that covers and reports on a wide variety of local events that are of significance to the residents of the Space Coast and beyond. Their mission is to promote youth sports, support first responders and law enforcement personnel, and showcase community and charitable events that are produced by our nonprofit partners in central Florida.

The Friday Night Locker Room has awarded hundreds of sports achievement plaques to Brevard County student-athletes over the years. They have also awarded more than $18,000 in academic scholarships to Brevard County high school seniors.

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