Longtime Cayman Brac airport worker Daryl “Bud” Walton retired last week after nearly three decades.
Mr. Walton, officially the airport’s maintenance officer, was lauded Friday as an all-rounder who had helped keep the airport running smoothly.
“The dedication of people like Bud are what separates this airport from many others in the region,” said Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell, who, along with Premier Alden McLaughlin presented 55-year-old Mr. Walton with a plaque during a ceremony at the airport on Friday.
“It is never a pleasure when a long-term employee retires, but when you know his success and effort and all the things he has done for this island, I am glad to be able to tell you we wish you the richest blessings,” Mr. Kirkconnell said.
The tourism minister also announced that the airport, now named the Charles Kirkconnell International Airport, had been recognized by the Caribbean Journal as the best small airport in the region.
He said the award from the magazine was a tribute to Mr. Walton and all the staff at the facility.
For Mr. Walton, who started as a security worker, it is the end of an era. He has done a number of jobs over the years and says he was always happy to help out in any way he could.
When Princess Alexandra visited in 1989, he recalls he drove his Daihatsu Charade out onto the tarmac to light the way from the plane to the terminal because the outside lights had yet to be installed.
Another memorable moment was in the aftermath of Hurricane Paloma when Mr. Walton and his colleagues worked around the clock to clear the runway and get the airport open so planes could arrive with aid from Grand Cayman.
He says he will miss the work and his colleagues.
“The island is so small, I will still see everyone,” he added.