Retiring Winair Captain Roger Hodge (centre) holding a plaque presented to him by 4-Piek Services, with Erna “Tricie” van Putten-Spanner (second right).
Present at the ceremony were Government Commissioner Marnix van Rij, Deputy Government Commissioner Alida Francis, interim airport manager Richard van Dinter, interim airport security manager Maurice van Velzen, the management team of 4-Piek Services, members of the Winair team in St. Eustatius and other well-wishers, Hodge’s long-time colleague Henkie Rivers among them.
The Caribbean Netherlands Fire Department honouring Captain Hodge with a water salute at F.D. Roosevelt Airport in St. Eustatius.
ST. EUSTATIUS–A farewell ceremony was held for Captain Roger Hodge, who retired after working as a pilot for Windward Islands Airways International Winair for more than thirty years.
Deputy Government Commissioner Alida Francis thanked Hodge for 30 years of dedicated service to all of Winair’s destinations, including Statia. “On behalf of the public entity St. Eustatius we would like to sincerely thank you for your many years of dedicated service to our islands,” Francis said.
She said all Winair pilots have a signature approach and landing on the runway by which persons could discern who was flying the airplane. Hodge’s signature landing earned him the nicknames “Top Gun” and “Cowboy” in Statia.
“We will truly miss you. … You are retiring a few months short of a brand new Franklin Delano Roosevelt Airport and hopefully we can welcome you back in the first quarter of 2021, along with other pilots who have served our island so diligently, especially in those nights before we had night landing. Some of you would touch down on the island in the most critical weather and situations to take patients out of Statia. You saved lives and we want to thank you on behalf of the government and the people of St. Eustatius,” said Francis.
Hodge, who was presented with plaques and tokens of appreciation on behalf of the island government and other persons, thanked everyone and said it had been a “great” pleasure to serve the people of St. Eustatius for 30 years.
Erna “Tricie” Van Putten-Spanner of 4-Piek Services was among those presenting Hodge with a plaque, stating that the team would miss him. She thanked Hodge for his hard work and his “exceptional and dedicated service” provided over the years.
“You deserve the best retirement and we wish you all the best in your new endeavours, and have fun. The vacancy you leave behind may be filled and the position you had may be held by others, but in our hearts you are simply irreplaceable,” Van Putten-Spanner said.
The Statia branch of the Caribbean Netherlands Fire Department gave Hodge a water salute as he departed for his final take-off from the island as a Winair pilot.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/farewell-ceremony-held-for-winair-captain-roger-hodge