For the past three years, after Hurricane Irma made landfall and destroyed our Civil Air Patrol hangar at the Marco Island Executive Airport, the Squadron has been focused on the rebuilding effort, which was only made possible by a grant from FEMA and the generous contributions by valued Squadron supporters throughout our local communities. We are very happy to report that as of August 21st the new hangar is complete and fully operational. The total cost of this rebuild was just over $500,000.
We wish to take this opportunity to offer our sincere thanks to everyone for their support in this monumental project.
Our partners in this project were Architect Victor Latavish, whose oversight and attention to detail were invaluable, and Compass Construction Co. A special note of thanks goes out to the Collier County Airport Authority, specifically Justin Lobb, Kate Whitson and Andrew Bennett for their coordination and cooperation in making the project proceed smoothly, while building a new airport terminal. And of course, a grateful acknowledgment goes out to all the members of the Squadron who assisted in making this endeavor a success.
The final “Cherry on Top of the Cake” was the erecting of the northwest antenna tower, which occurred earlier this month, and that will expand our HF radio capability, especially useful during disasters. This was greatly facilitated by the help of the American Infrastructure Services of Fort Myers, who generously donated their crane and manpower to assist in this endeavor.
During this three-year time span, we were fortunate to be able to maintain mission readiness and training by utilizing a small T-hangar provided by the Airport Authority. Although our hangar was destroyed, we were able to maintain operations in the office and radio room section of our hangar, which received only minimal damage from the hurricane.
Our Squadron Commander Captain Bob Boone noted, “It took a lot of effort on the part of many people and organizations to successfully complete this project and maintain operational readiness during construction, and the Squadron and Civil Air Patrol is truly grateful to all.”
Since 1981, the Marco Island Civil Air Patrol Squadron has been a valued resource serving Marco Island, the Ten Thousand Islands, Collier County, and Southwest Florida. The squadron has served this community and nation by providing service to the local community that includes search and rescue, and disaster assessment. For example, Marco Squadron members participated in photo-reconnaissance and damage assessment missions during the BP oil spill, following all Florida hurricane disasters, and provided an aircrew to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. CAP’s overall mission is threefold: Emergency Service (examples stated above), Aerospace Education and Cadet Program.
The Marco Island Squadron is a group of over 55 volunteers who give their time, talents, and personal resources to participate in this organization. Civil Air Patrol provides the assets—planes, vehicles, and building—and the Squadron provides the dedicated and professional workforce.
Once the COVID restrictions are lifted, we plan to hold an Open House for all to be able to come for a visit. Stay tuned for the details.