Former airport manager wins prestigious award

Villi Douglas, manager of the Port Hardy Airport on and off for 45 years, was award the Robert S. Day trophy Oct. 26.

Villi Douglas, manager of the Port Hardy Airport off and on for 45 years, was presented with the prestigious Robert S. Day Trophy Oct. 26 at the BC Aviation Council’s Silver Wing Awards held in Vancouver. Douglas was presented with the award for his “outstanding contribution, leadership and dedication to the regional air transportation system”.

Douglas, who now lives in south Surrey with his wife Grayce, was nominated for the award by Dave Nowzek from Transport Canada.

“Villi Douglas of Port Hardy is an unsung hero of BC Coastal Aviation. He was base manager of every airline (BC Airlines, Alert Bay Air Services and Pacific Coastal Airlines, to name a few) that operated the Port Hardy Base for some 50 years, wrote Nowzek in his nomination letter.

“As the ‘bed rock’ of Northern Vancouver Island, he mentored hundreds of pilots, engineers, dispatchers, ticket agents and ramp crews while providing consistent and vital air services to the remote Island and coastal communities,” Nowzek wrote.

“Operating a fleet of amphibious aircraft from Port Hardy, he provided superb customer service and reliable service in a challenging environment known for its high winds and stormy marine weather.

Through the years, Villi was the voice of the Northern Island advocating for an air transportation system that would serve the area population safely and in perpetuity.”

The Port Hardy fleet has remained constant through the years with amphibious Beavers, Otters and Goose aircraft being the aircraft of choice.

“Accordingly, Villi and his crews have collectively more time and experience on these types than likely any other region in the world. This has contributed to the success of the base under Villi’s leadership and resulted in the longevity of the service.”

Nowzek also commended Douglas’ approach with staff. “As a mentor, Villi has created some of the best of the best in BC aviation, patiently introducing new hires to the operation and mentoring them in the tough environment of mid and north coast operations.

Working closely with maintenance and operations personnel, he has consistently developed and maintained a spirit of safety, team work and reliability. Transient crews could also rely on a friendly greeting and a coffee while passing through or holding for weather. With this hospitality, Port Hardy was always a welcome ‘port in the storm.’

Nowzek wrote that Douglas’ leadership and dedication to the regional air transportation system is unique and places him in a category of outstanding citizens working for the betterment of the province and the aviation industry. “He is on of BC’s unsung heroes and an example of what makes aviation in BC safe, reliable and a nice place to work.”

“I feel awfully humbled and awfully proud,” said. Douglas of receiving the award, particularly since the nomination came from Transport Canada. Douglas got his first taste of the Canadian pacific coast after being drafted into the military.

He said he didn’t like being a solider so he applied for aircrew. He passed the necessary tests and learned how to fly jets in Canada under NATO. Douglas, who immigrated to Canada from Denmark in 1961, left Port Hardy about eight years ago, and is now retired, however he remembers his time here fondly.

“We loved it in Port Hardy. It is an exceptionally great place. We had such a good time there.”

 

Just Posted

North Island MLA Michele Babchuk. Photo contributed
COMMENTARY: MLA Michele Babchuk talks the future of forestry

‘These forests are important to every single one of us, myself included’

Dr. Prean Armogam hands over a cheque for $10,000 to Hardy Bay Senior Citizens Society president Rosaline Glynn. The money will be going towards a new roof for the Port Hardy seniors centre. This is the second donation Dr. Armogam has made to the society, giving them $5,000 a little over a year ago. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Doctor donates $10k to Hardy Bay Senior Citizens Society for new roof

This was the second donation Armogam has given to the society

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of May 30-June 5. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases drop again almost everywhere on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo had four new cases last week, down from 22 the week before

Blueprints for the seniors housing project in Port Hardy. (North Island Seniors Housing Foundation photo)
BC Housing declines North Island Seniors Housing Foundation’s proposal to build units

BC Housing will be explaining why exactly the project was declined at a June 18 meeting

An aerial view of the marine oil-spill near Bligh Island in Nootka sound that the Canadian Coast Guard posted in a live social media feed in December. ( Canadian Coast Guard/Facebook)
Oil from vessel that sank in 1968 off Vancouver Island to be removed

DFO hires Florida firm to carefully remove oil from MV Schiedyk in Nootka Sound starting in mid-June

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read