It’s mid-June and progress on the new hangar is really coming along…the hangar is BIG… everything about it is BIG. The massive opening where the hangar door will someday be hung seems huge, the ceiling seems so high, the horizontal steel beam supports under the upstairs windows that will soon hold the gigantic piece of steel for the crane are so long and the floor…it seems to go on forever…soon all of the piping for the radiant floor will be placed on what is now a dirt floor…I guess that means that there will be no more days of seeing your breath when you’re sitting in the office in January and February. The dream is really coming together. As I look at the now huge, empty space I can just imagine what the hangar will soon be like…it is worlds apart from the first office that Penobscot Island Air started with…a construction hangar insulated with hay bales. Inside this “corporate headquarters” was a card table that served the dual purpose of the customer service desk, as well as the President and CEO’s executive desk! It all worked back then! It was a vision…
As I was looking out the window at the HUGE front-end loader moving steel rods, I heard a booming voice out of nowhere say…”Hey Terry…do you have any more of the little pins that say “Be Like Kevin?” My trip down “Memory Lane” quickly ended and I was back in reality! It was Jeremy Shaw, the airport manager. “I don’t have any more pins, but Sally might have some or know if we have anymore, she knows where everything is” I replied. Thinking for a second, I said “Jeremy, why are you looking for more of those little pins?” “Oh…Ellery wanted to know if we had any more. He found one in the parking lot the other day, it was pretty scratched up but you could still read it…he put it in the cement at the bottom of one of the support posts so it will always be part of the hangar, he wanted to know if we had any more because he wanted to put some others around the hangar, I’ll check with Sally”. “Wow, that is so nice”, I couldn’t say anything else…
Over the next few days, I saw Ellery numerous times out in the parking lot as he was going from one area of construction to another. Although I wanted to, I didn’t have the courage to ask him about the pin. Ellery is the construction foreman for the hangar project. Over the previous 6 months, Ellery and I would often talk about the progress of the hangar, but usually, our communication was a wave across the parking lot as we were going in different directions. Ellery is a tall, thin guy with a long gray beard, kind of quiet but always eager and willing to explain what was happening, what the next steps in the project were going to be, always asking if there was anything he could do for me…that’s how I know Ellery.
One day about 2 weeks ago, I looked out my window and Ellery was standing next to his truck looking at the hangar. I immediately went down the hangar stairs, out the back door, and walked over to his truck. Ellery was reaching for something on the front seat when I said to him..”Hi Ellery…do you have a minute to talk?” Ellery jumped about 2 feet in the air and said. “Jeez…I didn’t see you there!” We both laughed as I apologized for scaring him…”Ellery…Jeremy said that you were looking for some more of those little pins, did you get some more?” “Sure did, Thanks.” he quietly replied. “Ellery, what’s the story with that?” I asked. “Well”, he
responded, “the other day I was walking over to the construction trailer and saw that little pin in the parking lot. It was kind of scratched up but you could still read it, it probably fell off someone’s coat or something this winter, got run over with the plow, I don’t know. But I picked it up and wanted to put it somewhere where it will always be. I just thought if there were more of them, I will put them in special spots around the hangar. Jeremy did give me a few more pins so as long as you are okay with it, I am going to put them in different spots around the hangar. I’ll be sure to cover them with something so that they don’t get scratched, they will be in discreet places, maybe the bottom of the stairs, near the front entrance, I don’t know exactly where yet, I’ll figure it out as it goes”. “Ellery…that is so nice” I said. “Did you know that Kevin designed this hangar?” I asked. “I had heard that but wasn’t sure.” he said. “He did” I responded. “Did you ever meet Kevin?” I asked. “Nope, but I’ve heard a lot about him, that’s all. That’s why I wanted to put the pins around the hangar”. I knew I needed to go then. “Ellery, thanks so much for thinking of this, it really means so much”. “Do you want me to show you where the pin is”? Ellery asked as I was turning to walk away…”I think I better get back to work right now, but I’ll find it later…thanks again” I said. “Okay, it’s on the left-hand side of the hangar, the first big supporting post as you walk in, you can’t miss it, it’s right there…talk to you later”, Ellery said.
A few days later, at the end of the day, I decided it was a good time to look for the pin. As I was walking toward the hangar I heard a loud. “Where do you think you are going”? I recognized the voice, it was Jeremey Shaw. “I’m going to look for the pin, Ellery told me where he put it”. “You’ll never find it, want me to show you where it is?” Jeremy said. “Oh, I think I will, but sure, show me where it is” I replied. Jeremy walked right over the big tall steel beam and pointed to its’ base…there embedded in the concrete was the “Be Like Kevin” pin, the white background in the upper right corner all scratched, part of the green paint of the plane gone, but you could still read the writing and see that the picture was that of a little plane, just like our planes.
Neither one of us said anything for a minute or so. There wasn’t anything to say…but as I stood there, I could not help but think of how BIG everything was. There I was standing in the massive hangar door opening, looking up at the huge insulated hangar ceiling overhead, the enormous dirt floor in front of me, the steel staging for the mezzanine, and thinking also about the little pin at the bottom of a huge steel post. So, as you can see, a lot of progress has certainly been made on the hangar. The completion date is still scheduled for late fall 2022, we are all very, very excited about this! The hangar is BIG, really BIG but there is so much more that has gone into the project…some very small, just one inch by one inch little parts!