Former Pilot, Paratrooper Revisit Old Friend at SMX
There was a World War II reunion of sorts this week in Santa Maria, as three Army veterans came together.
Frank Goins, a flight officer with the U.S. Army Air Corps, Bindo Grasso of Guadalupe, a paratrooper with the U.S. Army who served in France in the months following D-Day, and a Douglas C-47B Skytrain were brought together by a restoration of the venerable aircraft that many Army veterans fondly dubbed a Gooney Bird.
The group, associated with the Estrella Warbirds Museum in Paso Robles, just finished restoring the plane at ArtCraft Paint at the Santa Maria Public Airport. The volunteers and the craftsmen at ArtCraft carefully restored the plane to its flat, dull green and gray camouflage look.
“It’s a wonderful airplane. A combination of pilots and engineers developed this airplane, so it’s a pilot’s airplane,” said the 91-year-old Goins, who traveled from his Modesto home in hope of flying in the plane from the Central Coast to Chino, where it will visit the Lightning Strike Chino air show.
“When I first went over there, yeah, I flew out of England. Got in on the coast of France on runways that were as slick as glass,” he said.
There’s a possibility that Goins and this particular airplane might have crossed paths during the last two years of the war. Goins flew cargo all over Western Europe, and the plane was set up to carry both supplies and troops.
“We know it’s a combat veteran of the European theater,” said Hector Camacho, who grew up in Guadalupe and Nipomo, and taught school at Righetti High before becoming a pilot, mechanic and instructor. Camacho was one of many volunteers working to restore and recertify the big plane.
The Paso Robles Gooney Bird group — Glenn Thomson, Gary Corippo and Sherm Smoot — formed a nonprofit corporation to buy and operate the airplane and have traced the plane’s lineage from the Army Air Corps to military service in Belgium, France and Israel before it was discharged into private ownership in Canada.
Corippo, director of the Paso Robles-based museum, said the plane sat idle in Israel for 31 years and has just over 9,000 hours of flight time on it.
Gooney Bird volunteer Rob Kinnear said the group has worked hard to research the plane’s background and narrowed it down to the 302nd Air Transport Wing, 27th group. They named the plane “Betty’s Biscuit Bomber,” paying homage to its supplies-flight background.
Goins, who attended flight school in San Antonio and Waco, Texas, was assigned to the 10th TC Group in Grenada, Miss. before finally reaching the war in Grove, England. He piloted planes that carried supplies to the troops and towed British troop-carrying gliders. He was eventually assigned to follow Gen. George Patton’s 3rd Army on its march across France in the summer of 1944.
“We didn’t call them missions. We just flew. I got over 1,000 hours in less than six months,” Goins said forcefully, for somebody who has seen nine decades. “Carried high test gasoline and ammunition. And when we’d come back we usually had a boat load of wounded aboard. We carried a nurse on board the flights — sometimes two.”
Goins said the pilots highly respected the nurses who flew with them. He said many were former commercial flight attendants who knew the planes as well as some of the pilots.
The versatile plane with twin Pratt & Whitney 1,200-horsepower engines had a range of over 1,500 miles and a top speed of 232 mph. Goins said they normally flew between 150 and 170 mph when they were loaded, often as low as they could.
“We didn’t have any way to weigh and balance, so one of the tactics we’d use was at 45 mph, if that tail came off the ground we’d fly it. If it didn’t come off the ground at 45, we’d shut ‘er down and unload some stuff,” he said.
“That way we could fly right on the deck or if we could find a cloud, we’d get in it. Fighters wouldn’t come down and get you if you’re right on the deck,” which he joked was 17 inches above ground. “The (enemy ground troops) — you’re gone over them before they knew you were there. They could hear you, but they didn’t know where you were.”
The Gooney Birds also dropped troops all over Western Europe, including Grasso, who was part of a small group of paratroopers known as the “pathfinders” who parachuted into France ahead of the D-Day invasion.
Grasso’s first combat jump was near Sainte-Mere Eglise the night before the Allied troops hit the beaches of Normandy. They set up Eureka beacons to light the way for the troops following.
He said it was a fluke he ever became a paratrooper. A New Jersey native, Grasso was stationed in Southern California at a Pasadena horse racing track guarding Japanese Americans who were being shipped to internment camps.
Harry Masatani, whose family has owned Masatani’s Market in Guadalupe for 91 years, was among those relocated during the war. The sharp 86-year-old Masatani, whose family wound up in a Colorado camp, went through Pasadena where Grasso worked.
He said he and Grasso are now good friends and members of Guadalupe American Legion Post 371. Grasso was later transferred to the airbase in Santa Maria where his military career literally took wings.
“You know a bunch of guys get together and say ‘Let’s join the parachute group.’ You know it was 50 bucks more a month,” Grasso explained. “I didn’t want to join because I was in the Fourth Air Force West Coast Defense. They talked me into it and we all joined. Of the six, I’m the only dummy that passed. The rest were shipped back to Santa Maria. The next thing I know, I’m overseas.”
Grasso made three combat jumps in Europe, all out of C-47s. “We’re all excited. I guess you know we were afraid, but you’re not going to say anything,” Grasso remembered. “You can’t say you’re not jumping, but I guess if I had to do it all over again I’d do the same thing.”
Goins took a typical pilot’s opinion when it came to jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. “The only way you’d get me out of an airplane is if it’s on fire or if there’s structural damage. I saw too many paratroopers with broken collar bones, broken legs, into barbed wire fences.”
5/1/13 • By Brian Bullock/Staff Writeremail@example.com
Thanks to Nonprofit, Two Local Veterans Fly High in a 1942 P-17
2013-05-05T00:15:00Z Seasoned vets get a taste of heavenBy Kenneth Klein/Contributing Writer Santa Maria Times
When two seasoned veterans showed up at the Santa Maria Airport for free rides in a single-engine warplane, they did not seem to have a health care in the world, but they sure had some pretty big smiles and a lot of military pride.
The senior veterans wasted no time, boarded a waiting open-cockpit 1942 P-17 and got a little closer to heaven above Santa Maria Valley, thanks to a few wishes granted by the nonprofit Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation, which is based in Nevada. The group, with three planes, started up about three years ago, and has provided more than 230 flights to veterans throughout the nation, said Paul Bodenhamer, AADF board member.
The day for veterans Carl Valler, 93, and Burrel McDonald, 80, began Monday when they were transported from Santa Maria Terrace, an assisted living center, on East Main Street to a section of the airfield behind the Radisson Hotel. Plenty of war stories were shared. “It was a pleasant surprise,” said McDonald. “I enjoyed the peace. Let’s just say if there was anybody up there from a higher power, we talked.”
Both men may have joined the military for different reasons and had different experiences, but the honor of military service remains deeply embedded in their hearts. McDonald joined the service at 18 and served between 1950-55 on a transport ship in the U.S. Navy. Valler joined up when he was 15 and provided 33 years of service to the U.S. Navy, Army and Air Force.
McDonald said flying has brought people a long way since he was a young man growing up in Visalia, pointing out that the modern days of taking a quick trip to New York or using aircraft to get to work may not be all that great.
“People overlook the time they have here,” said McDonald, adding ships like the one he served on — the USS General William Mitchell — are more up his alley. “We don’t stay here forever.”
But one thing is for sure: The military is not for babies. The service made him grow up quick, McDonald said. For Valler, memories of joining up and the war remain clear as day. Valler said he ran away from school in Michigan after he was struck by a teacher, lied about his age and joined up. But, the real reason? “My mom said I had to join up, so I did,” Valler said.
In the military, Valler was later captured by the Japanese and became a POW, but a Filipino solider helped him escape. “They (the Japanese) said they were going to have fun with me,” Valler said. “I thought to myself, no they are not.”
Both men also have different opinions on the idea of a draft, but agree that some form of military service should be required for all Americans. Valler is all for mandatory service to “protect our country and because men and woman need to learn how to fight” in this troubled world we live in. McDonald stressed that “some people would like to forget the war,” but believes there should be some form of community/military emphasis in it.
For Bodenhamer and the others like pilot Darryl Fisher, granting dreams to those veterans who wish to fly, there is more than enough to do as time runs out for many veterans. “We are really focusing on World War II veterans because they are leaving us at a rapid pace,” Bodenhamer said. “We just want to give back to those who have given.”
May 05, 2013 • By Kenneth Klein, Santa Maria Times
The Douglas C-47 Skytrain that was recently restored by volunteers and staff at ArtCraft Paint at the Santa Maria Public Airport rolls out of the hangar headed for the Lightning Strike Chino air show. The plane, owned by a group associated with the Estrella Warbirds Museum in Paso Robles, carried both troops and cargo for the U.S. Army Air Corps in the months following the invasion of France.
2013-05-04T00:35:00Z C-47 Takes airStaff report Santa Maria Times
May 04, 2013 Santa Maria Times Staff
Military Aircraft may be Absent at Thunder Over The Valley
Thanks to federal budget cuts, the forecast for the 2013 Thunder Over the Valley Air Show looks partly cloudy with a chance of rain.
The Santa Maria Airport district Board of Directors will hear a report on the air show and the airport’s 10-year Capital Improvement Project’s list today when it meets at 7 p.m. The airport board meets at the Administration Building, 3217 Terminal Drive.
The future of this year’s show has been up in the air ever since the federal government didn’t act to stop the midyear budget cuts, which have seriously curtailed operations of the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Armed Forces. Airport General Manager Chris Hastert said those cuts have delivered a one-two punch to air shows all over the country.
FAA inspectors are required to approve airports, airplanes and pilots for air shows held throughout the country. At the same time, the military provides equipment and personnel for public outreach to the shows.
“With the sequestration, it remains to be seen if we can get the military aircraft here for display and demonstrations,” Hastert said, adding the FAA also plays an important role in preparing airports for shows. “Seeing how it’s in August, it could work out to our advantage.”
Sequestration has already caused the U.S. Navy to cancel seven of its 10 shows scheduled in April and May, while the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds have canceled all but one of its scheduled shows for the remainder of the year.
The military cutbacks have Mike Geddry, president of the Santa Maria Museum of Flight and organizer of Thunder Over the Valley, scratching his head about this year’s show. He said little has changed in the past few weeks.
“The Navy shut down for one month. I guess that involves the Marines, because they come out of the Department of the Navy. The Army, they always end up doing the same as everybody else,” Geddry said. “If I don’t get military, I’ll have to go with warbirds.” Warbirds are restored military aircraft.
Geddry said he has been deluged with calls from aerobatic performers looking for work since many of the shows in April and May have been canceled. How to pay the performers is Geddry’s dilemma.
“Even your warbird military acts are scrambling because of the military cuts,” he said. “We’re going to have to depend heavily on the community to support us this year, because the military looks like it’s out.”
The board also will be reviewing the airport’s Capital Improvement Projects schedule, which is a 10-year plan for construction projects.
Among them are design and rehabilitation of the terminal and hotel ramps, extension of several taxiways and rehabilitation of the main hangar apron. “It’s really a fairly definite five-year plan that goes out 10 years,” said Hastert, adding the list has only FAA-funded projects. “The projects always stay the same, just the priorities change.”
3/28/13 • By Brian Bullock / Staff Writer / firstname.lastname@example.org
Sequester Could Impact Thunder Over the Valley
The Santa Maria Public Airport air traffic control tower is not among the more than 200 towers targeted for closure by the Federal Aviation Administration due to the $85 billion in automatic federal budget cuts known as sequestration.
The F.A.A. released the list of airports that would be affected by the cuts last week and Wednesday updated it to include 238 across the country. Twenty-three towers in California are affected, but Santa Maria is not among them, according to General Manager Chris Hastert.
“The sequester, so far, has had a limited impact on us. The tower is not on the closure list. For Santa Maria, that was good news,” Hastert said. “Obviously there could be further cuts as they go down the list and start implementing things, but we got through the first round.”
Camarillo and Oxnard airports in Ventura County weren’t so lucky. They are the only airports in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties affected by the F.A.A. closures. Hastert worked at both Ventura County airports and was deputy director over both facilities before moving to Santa Maria in 2008.
He said the closures will hit Camarillo hard. “Camarillo is strictly general aviation and it’s only about 650 acres. Due to its proximity to Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, it’s very busy,” he said. “For Camarillo, it is a very big deal. It’s a very busy airport, especially on the weekends.”
Even though Santa Maria wasn’t affected by the tower closures, it could be impacted in other ways. Hastert said the budget cuts could affect Santa Maria’s Thunder Over the Valley air show. He said F.A.A. inspectors are required to check out the show’s layout at the airport, the planes and the pilots, and the administration’s cuts could affect their availability.
Mike Geddry, President of the Santa Maria Museum of Flight, who organizes the show said military cuts could possibly spell doom for the show, which is scheduled for Aug. 24-25.
Budget cuts to the Air Force, Navy and Marines are already resulting in military air shows around the country being canceled. They include shows at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.; Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.; Langley Air Force Base, Va., Dover Air Force Base, Del.; and Corpus Christi Naval Air Station, Texas.
The Air Force’s Thunderbirds, based in Las Vegas, and the Golden Knights, from Fort Bragg, N.C., have canceled their schedules beginning April 1. The Navy’s Blue Angels have canceled a number of shows, but haven’t yet wiped out their entire 2013 schedule.
According to the International Council of Air Shows, at least 150 shows each year count on military performers, including Thunder Over the Valley.
“As it stands right now, we’re rolling the dice like anybody going to Vegas right now,” Geddry said, adding he is fielding phone calls daily from pilots looking for work because of the cancellations. Geddry said he would love to help them out, but the show can’t afford to hire them. He said the acts are very expensive and his show paid $18,000 for performers last year.
Thunder Over the Valley annually pays tribute to military pilots and Geddry said he just received notice Wednesday that the Navy and Marine pilots would continue their air show schedules. He said he was more worried about how the cuts would affect military pilot training.
“I’m really concerned about how it’s going to affect our military because that’s what our show is about, is supporting our military. The last thing we need to do is cut is our training and our troops,” he said.
Geddry plans to go to the district Board of Directors meeting today — 7:00 p.m. in the airport’s administration building — to ask for a pledge of support for this year’s show. The board annually provides financial support to the show.
“I’m going to ask not for check, but a pledge if we go forward with it to support that,” he said. “I really don’t know how this is going to affect us. If we don’t get the military support, we won’t do it.”
3/14/13 By Brian Bullock / Staff Writer / email@example.com
Board Moves to Make Airport More Competitive
The Santa Maria Public Airport District Board of Directors likes having the U.S. Forest Service’s air tanker base here and showed it Thursday when it cut the tanker landing fees in half.
The board amended its contract with the Central Coast Jet Center to include collection of landing fees in its monthly billing to the Forest Service, and it lowered those fees from $1 per 1,000 pounds to 50 cents per 1,000 pounds of aircraft weight.
The Forest Service pays three fees to utilize the Santa Maria Public Airport: landing fees, ramp handling fees and fuel flowage fees.
Since the base relocated from the Santa Barbara Airport in 2007, the Forest Service paid ramp and fuel fees to Jet Center and paid landing fees to the airport district. The contract amendment means the Jet Center will handle all Forest Service billing, and it will forward landing fees on to the district.
The tanker base has operated at the Santa Maria Airport since 2007. From 2009 to 2011, the base was downgraded to call-when-needed status by the Los Padres National Forest. A new contract signed in November 2011 upgraded the base to full-time during the fire season.
The reduction covers all emergency service aircraft that land here: Cal Fire, Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.
Doug Butler, general manager of the Jet Center, said there have been times since the base reopened when Cal Fire planes working on fires near Vandenberg Air Force Base would bypass Santa Maria and use the Paso Robles Airport to refill. He said many airports don’t charge emergency services landing fees and the move by the board would improve the situation.
“We’re not talking huge dollars here,” Butler said of the fees. “A lot of it is perception. “We’ve been through a lot with that tanker base, and it’s fully open and operational.” Butler complimented the airport board and former U.S. Representative Elton Gallegly with getting the base back to full-time service.
The move was made to make the airport more competitive with other airports in the region utilized by air tankers, Director Carl Engel said.
The board also amended the lease with the Cessna Pilots Association. Construction surrounding the airport’s fire station have prevented the association from moving into the building at 3409 Corsair, so the district moved to postpone its rent start date until May 1.
3/1/13 By Brian Bullock / Staff Writer / firstname.lastname@example.org
Helicopter and Plane Will Serve Central Coast, Elsewhere in State
2013-01-26T00:10:00Z CalSTAR debutes new air ambulancesBy Samantha Yale Scroggin / Staff Writer / email@example.com Santa Maria Times
Central Coast residents had the opportunity Friday night to check out two new air ambulances that recently started serving the area and have the capability to whisk them to safety in an emergency.
The California Shock Trauma Air Rescue (CalSTAR) helicopter and airplane were unveiled at a public event at the Central Coast Jet Center, located at the Santa Maria Public Airport.
The rain appeared to have discouraged many from turning out for the unveiling Friday evening, but still the aircraft and their crews were on hand.
The EC135 helicopter is stationed at the Santa Maria airport, and exclusively serves the Central Coast, said Mike Nichols, CalSTAR director of development and outreach. The Super King Air B200 airplane, however, will fly throughout the state, according to Nichols. “This is our first opportunity to bring it down and show it off to our EMS partners and the general public,” he explained. Nichols said the helicopter went into service in Santa Maria in December, and the airplane has been in use since last summer.
The Central Coast was the first area in the state to receive a new helicopter that is expected to be one of eight new helicopter ambulances CalSTAR will be obtaining, Nichols said. “It was sort of a matter of timing,” he said, noting that the Central Coast had one of the oldest helicopters in the fleet and the features of the EC135 fit the Central Coast needs and terrain.
The Santa Maria airport is only home base to the one CalSTAR helicopter, Nichols said, but a CalSTAR helicopter from Salinas can be called as backup if necessary for medical transport.
In addition, a Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department helicopter is able to assistant with emergency calls if needed.
The Super King Air B200 has been busy, according to Nichols, “probably averaging about a flight a day.” The airplane is the only one of its kind CalSTAR currently has in regular use, although the agency has a couple of older backup planes, according to Nichols.
Nichols said the Super King exceeds the older planes in terms of range and power. “It really is sort of proven,” he added. Nichols said the airplane is called in when CalSTAR needs to transport patients long distances.
January 26, 2013 By Samantha Yale Scroggin / Staff Writer / firstname.lastname@example.org
Santa Maria, North County and all of California were hit hard by the Great Recession. Some places responded with hand-wringing, worrying and sheep-like bleating to elected officials for a government program of one sort or another. There is no renewed prosperity on that path.
Perhaps we have been guilty of some fretting ourselves. Perhaps Santa Maria is not a perfect picture of fiscal health, but it could be doing a lot worse. And that would not be good for the area, because a healthy Santa Maria is essential to the well-being of North County.
On the other hand, Santa Maria benefits from a healthy Buellton, Lompoc, Vandenberg, etc. It is in the best interest of each for all to be healthy.
Recall Aesop’s fable, a practical illustration of strength in unity. It is easy to break one stick at a time. It is not so easy to break a group of sticks bundled together.
With that in mind, consider the Santa Maria Airport. It may be in Santa Maria, but it is a jewel for all of North County.
Begin with the radar system. It was installed about seven years ago and it helps guide Central Coast air traffic between Los Angeles and San Francisco. This includes flights into and out of both Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.
SMX has a runway that is almost 2,000 feet longer than the longest runway in either Santa Barbara or San Luis Obispo. The runway is one of the reasons travelers can fly non-stop to Hawaii now.
Allegiant Air uses that runway to fly travelers to Hawaii on a Boeing 757. That is a big airplane, much bigger than anything flying into or out of the airports located 35 miles north or 65 miles south. Hopefully, neither Santa Barbara nor SLO develops an inferiority complex — although one might be entirely appropriate.
In addition, Allegiant Air provides service to and from Las Vegas, and Skywest/United flies to and from LAX. Efforts are continuing to add service to other cities as well.
SMX has amenities that serve both commercial and general aviation. SMX is home to the Central Coast Jet Center, CALSTAR Air Ambulance Service, and the supply base for the U.S. Forest Service firefighting team. Additionally, both the Museum of Flight and the Radisson Hotel are on the airport grounds.
The entire region enjoys benefits from the activities that occur around the Santa Maria Airport. At the same time, SMX enjoys benefits from the activities that occur throughout the region.
For example, the success of efforts aimed at increasing travel options from SMX depends on having travelers. Many of the travelers needed to justify more flights live in Santa Maria, but many also live throughout North County. For that matter, many live in Nipomo and the Five Cities in southern SLO County.
Travel options become more viable if SMX thinks like a regional airport rather than a municipal one. And a robust regional economy will help make SMX busier. In turn, a busier SMX contributes to a healthy regional economy. Each contributes to the well-being of the other. SMX illustrates the benefits of a regional approach.
No amount of fretting will expand our regional economy; only work will do that. We need to roll up our sleeves and go to work, together. If we unite and work cooperatively as a region, we will be like the bundle of sticks in Aesop’s fable. There is strength in the unity that comes from common purpose. That is the surest path to prosperity for all.
1/10/13 Trent Benedetti / Improving North County (Trent Benedetti is a member of the board of directors of the Committee to Improve North County and a long-time local business owner.)
Buellton-Based Civil Engineer One of Four Honored
Doug Pike, of MNS Engineers in Buellton, is a behind-the-scenes kind of guy like most engineers. So to be named Engineer of the Year by the Santa Barbara County Chapter of the California Special Districts Association was totally unexpected. “I very much appreciate the recognition,” he said.
A civil engineer, Pike specializes in municipal and water resources engineering. He has worked for MNS for the past five years and worked for the firm for about two years previously during his 32-year career on the Central Coast.
The Santa Maria Valley Water Conversation District, which oversees the maintenance and operations of Twitchell Dam, nominated him for the award. Pike said the agency is a longtime client and the nomination was based on his ongoing work with the district. In the early 2000s, Pike served as the contract city engineer and interim public works director in Solvang.
Unlike Pike, being selected for the CSDA General Manager of the Year Award wasn’t a total surprise to Chris Hastert of the Santa Maria Public Airport, but he still considers it an honor. He was chosen by a vote of the organization’s executive board, of which he is a member, so he knew he was in the mix. But he said he was still flattered by the award.
“They passed around the nominations for the award and I was surprised to see my name,” Hastert said. “I was very honored to receive the award. There are quite a few special districts in the county.”
Santa Barbara County has 36 special districts and the CSDA represents 26 of them. Others honored by the CSDA Santa Barbara County Chapter include Mike Burke, R. Burke Corp., Contractor of the Year Award; and Christa Coski, Goleta Water District, Accountant of the Year Award.
Hastert came to Santa Maria in 2008 after serving as deputy director of Ventura County Airports, which includes Camarillo and Oxnard. His nomination stems from the great strides Santa Maria Public Airport has made over the past year. In 2012, the airport completed a 1,700-foot runway extension, Hastert worked with Allegiant Air to get passenger service to Hawaii, and a popular go-kart track reopened after a two-year hiatus.
January 2, 2013 • Staff report
Santa Maria Airport General Manager One of Four Honored
Being selected for the General Manager of the Year Award wasn’t exactly a total surprise to Chris Hastert of the Santa Maria Public Airport, but he still considers it an honor.
Hastert was one of four county professionals honored recently by the Santa Barbara County chapter of the California Special Districts Association. He was chosen by a vote of the organization’s executive board, which he is a member of, so he knew he was in the mix. But he was still flattered by the award. “They passed around the nominations for the award and I was surprised to see my name,” Hastert said. “I was very honored to receive the award. There are quite a few special districts in the county.”
Santa Barbara County has 36 special districts and the CSDA represents 26 of them.
Others honored by the CSDA Santa Barbara County Chapter include: Doug Pike, MNS Engineering, Engineer of the Year Award; Mike Burke, R. Burke Corp., Contractor of the Year Award; and Christa Coski, Goleta Water District, Accountant of the Year Award.
Hastert came to Santa Maria in 2008 after serving as deputy director of Ventura County Airports, which includes Camarillo and Oxnard.
His nomination stems from the great strides Santa Maria Public Airport has made over the past year. In 2012, the airport completed a 1,700-foot runway extension, Hastert worked with Allegiant Air to get passenger service to Hawaii, and a popular go-kart track reopened after a two-year hiatus.
“He’s done an awful lot as the general manager there at the airport district,” said Tony Fox, president of the Santa Barbara chapter of CSDA and a director on the Vandenberg Village Community Services District board. “The runway expansion and go-kart track. On top of that he’s been a fiscally prudent manager so the airport district is very healthy.”
Hugh Rafferty, a former member of the airport board, and the Goleta West Sanitary District both nominated Hastert for the award. Rafferty worked with Hastert for four years. “He’s a very intelligent guy. He does his homework. He’s very low-key,” Rafferty said. “He doesn’t throw himself out there and say ‘Look at me, I know all the answers.’”
Hastert agreed with “low-key” portion of Rafferty’s description. “It was nice to be recognized. I don’t toot my own horn too much at the meetings,” Hastert said. “It was very nice to receive that recognition and know that people recognize what’s going on up here.”
12/20/12 By Brian Bullock / Staff Writer / email@example.com