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Baker wins airport director award

Leroy Baker, the manager for the Lunenburg Airport, recently won the 2019 Aviation Director’s award.

The annual award, according to documentation from the Virginia Department of Aviation, is given to people who have made remarkable contributions to airports throughout Virginia.

Baker has been the Lunenburg Airport Manager since 2012.

According to a letter delivered to the county from Virginia Department of Aviation Director Mark Flynn, the award is given to those who have made commendable strides in bettering the airport and the wider community.

Baker maintains the airport lawn, hauls trash, removes any potential debris from the runway, oversees the Automated Weather Observing System (AWOS) located at the airport, which monitors weather conditions and is a friendly face and a source of guidance when pilots, families and youth piloting programs arrive at the airport.

Baker’s award will be presented at a later date.

Lunenburg County administration nominated Baker for the award.

County Administrator Tracy Gee spoke in a nomination letter about Baker’s extensive service and responsibilities at the airport.

“Mr. Baker is an avid aviation supporter and enjoys volunteering much of his time at the Lunenburg Airport,” Gee said in the nomination letter. “We compensate him a mere $75 per month to help cover incidentals. Leroy has served at the Airport since 2012 in this role. We do not have automated fuel pumps, so Mr. Baker fuels all the visiting aircraft, monitors operations, is trained on the Automated Weather Observation System, maintains the building and grounds, and mows the grass. He is our unofficial welcoming committee and does a wonderful public service for the County. He has saved the taxpayers a great deal of money by performing these tasks at a nominal fee. Mr. Baker is a lifelong public servant, retiring after 30 years in the VA Army National Guard, where he worked on tanks as a mechanic and trained combat dogs. Mr. Baker celebrated his 82nd birthday on May 25, has been married to Shirley Baker since 1979 and loves his two step-daughters as if they were his.”

“Leroy has spent his life giving back to his country and a community,” Andrew Crider, spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Aviation, said in a statement Friday. “He has done a fantastic job at Lunenburg County Airport and the Department of Aviation is proud to recognize him for his service.”

In a letter from Flynn recognizing Baker, Flynn commended Baker for his service to the county.

“You are being recognized for your years of dedication and volunteer work at Lunenburg County Airport,” the letter from Flynn cited. “Your work at Lunenburg has been noticed by both the airport and its customers. Your contributions have helped the airport achieve its missions and serve its community better. We hope to thank you for all you have done with this award.”

Baker, in a phone interview on Friday, thanked the county and the department for their support.

“I want to keep doing the best thing that I can every day, for as long as I can,” Baker said.

In other activities, members of the Lunenburg County Board of Supervisors voted to partner with the Virginia Department of Aviation in order for the Virginia department to purchase a new mower for the airport.

Baker said in the phone interview his priority as airport manager is helping others.

“I care about people. I work hard,” Baker said. “I do what I do, not for congratulations and stuff like that, I do it for myself. I’m happy with it, you know? The award’s coming along, that’s good too. That doesn’t hurt a bit.”