R3-then-and-now-1PADUCAH, Ky. (7/3/14) — This week Barkley Regional Airport honored Richard Roof for his 40 years of service to the region as Airport Manager.

A reception was held July 1, at the terminal, which was attended by fifty city and county officials, current and former board and airport staff members and friends.

For is four decades of service to the community and state, Roof received the Mayor’s Award of Merit from Paducah Mayor Gayle Kaler, and was made a Kentucky Colonel by State Representative Gerald Watkins.

In addition, Barkley Airport Board Chairman Chris Neihoff, presented him with a sign to illustrate that the airport’s driveway will be named Richard Roof Drive in his honor.

“Today you have all gathered here, basically telling me that I have been successful in this job for 40 years,” Roof said of the accolades. “I’ve been here through good times, through bad times, and through tough times, but the fact remains I wouldn’t be here and have endured in this position for so long without the help and support of each of you and countless others, so I share all of this with you, as it is in celebration of you as well.”

On July 1, 1974, Roof began his airport career at what was then Barkley Field, when he was named Assistant Manager, two months later on Sept. 1 he then took over as the airport’s fifth manager, when Ben Ashby retired.

Just a few things Richard Has seen in his 40 years of service

  • Vast changes in the airline industry, when he started there were 20 major airlines flying around the country, today there are only 4.

  • The only fatality in this history of the airport. In 1991 Brian Stanley Duecker fell to his death after trying to climb onto the outside of a plane as it was taking off. Duecker, whose identity was unknown for sometime, was buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, as a “John Doe”  But as authorities sought to identify him, the events leading up to his untimely death were profiled on an episode of NBC’s Unsolved Mysteries, and his family made contact soon after the show aired, and they told authorities that he was mentally ill. After determining Duecker’s identity, his family added their own head stone to his grave, which still has both headstones.

  • The expansion and resurfacing of both of Barkley Regional’s runways, to their current lengths 4/22 is 6,500 ft and 14/32 is 5,500ft.

  • In 2011, commercial jet aircraft service returned to Paducah, for the first time since the 70’s with United Express service to Chicago that is still flying there today.

SurfKY News
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