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Airport renamed to honor the late Ron Alexander

By John Ellis The Alexander family and visitors from near and far gathered to celebrate the life of the late Ron Alexander at Candler Field Museum on Saturday. During the ceremony, it was announced that the airport was renamed Alexander Memorial Airport in his honor. A video made by Ron about his own life was shown inside the museum and Barnstormer’s Grill served lunch before the program started at 1 p.m. with a formation of eight World War II vintage T-6 Texan airplanes. The ceremony included musical performances by the Freedom Belles and the Oak Hill Baptist Church Trio. All introductions were made by Bill Taylor from the radio station WKEU in Griffin who was a good friend of Ron’s. He mentioned it has been said that at the end of your life if you can count at least five real friends, then you were a very lucky fellow. He said by looking at the audience of hundreds of people from all over the country, he could tell Ron did not have to worry about that. He said Ron was one of the greatest men he has ever known. Jack McCormick, a good friend of Ron’s, a retired Delta Airlines Captain and a Vietnam veteran was the first speaker. He is also a FAA Compliance Officer. He said he was compelled to find some way to memorialize Ron Alexander and his family for all that they have done and after getting the family’s approval, officially changed the name of the airport from Peachstate Aerodrome to Alexander Memorial Airport in honor of its founder. Clay Hammond, vice president of the Board of Directors of the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome and Museum in New York State announced that Ron Alexander had been awarded their ‘Spirit of the Aerodrome Award.’Â  The next speaker was Cayla McLeod, 17, who is part of the Youth Aviation Program and has now earned her pilot’s license and is a student aircraft mechanic. She spoke of the many positive impacts Ron had made on her life and the lives of other youth in the program. She told a number of stories about the adventures of Ron, some that were very funny and the saddest of all was the day when tragedy struck. She said she and Jacob Gates, another YAP member were helping launch the last flight of the Jenny. She said if she’d known what was going to happen, she would have never released the plane for that flight. The next to speak was David Moffett who shared his interesting stories of flying with Ron while working at Delta Airlines. He spoke of Ron’s many talents and abilities and said his passing has left a void that no one will ever fill.  The last speaker was Steve Fulton, who shared his adventures with Ron Alexander, and how he had made such an impact and change in his life. The ceremony included a Rifle Volley, the playing of Taps and the folding of three flags given to the family by the Marine Corps League. The ceremony ended with the Missing Man Formation performed by four Stearman Bi-planes and the playing of Amazing Grace on bagpipes by Laurie Bailey.Â

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