Pilot Hakeem Bush is the latest honoree in the “Proud of Them” initiative.
Employed by Cayman Airways since 2008, he flies CAL Express routes and also serves as First Officer on the 737 jet aircraft between international destinations.
West Bayer Mr. Bush was chosen as a Proud of Them recipient through a public nomination process, which recognizes positive achievements of young people aged 10-25. His picture will be featured for six months on a billboard and he has been awarded a certificate and $500. He receives the accolade for his early academic career.
“I felt really proud that it was my aunt Cindy Scotland [who] nominated me. Looking back on the years, everything I have done has been in the fast lane, but hard work and dedication will get you anywhere that you want to be, once you are dedicated and focused,” he said.
From an early age, he plotted his career path. After high school, at the age of 17, he qualified as an aircraft pilot. The following year, he earned his commercial pilot wings, completing a complex and challenging certification regime.
He trained in safety systems management and went on to become a captain at the age of 22.
Mr. Bush obtained his airline transport pilot license the following year, which qualified him to command even larger craft. Continuing his training, he has since begun an engineering degree.
While he credits the support of his family and older pilots with feeding his passion for flying, the sheer determination and focus of the young man has held him in good stead over the years. He has always been willing to guide and assist other young people with similar interests – serving as an example for those with high aspirations.
“Young people like Hakeem are to be commended for seizing the many opportunities for youth that exist in the Cayman Islands, and for using these opportunities to become a meaningful part of the life of our islands, both as a work force contributor and in the community sphere,” said Osbourne Bodden, the government minister responsible for youth.
Mr. Bush graduated with honors from John Gray High school in 2007. His early academic career earned him “best report” accolades. He also served as house captain, and a member of the school board.
Mr. Bush says he hopes to dedicate more time to community work. A member of the Rotaract Club of Grand Cayman, he said he is slowly taking on more a more active role, assisting with various projects, such as the club’s goal of contributing to the worldwide eradication of polio.
He also has athletic interests. Coming from a competitive and sporting family, Mr. Bush plays a number of sports, but believes that his niche is on the squash court.
Away from the duties of his career, he relishes time spent on the Sister Islands, where the “peaceful, slow-paced and easy-going life” offers him solace.