On a sunny, windy February 20th, Air Tractor employees joined the Snow family for the dedication of the Leland Snow Memorial Pavilion and to commemorate the first anniversary of Leland's passing.
Construction began on the 40' x 40' structure last Fall with Loyd Green as the contractor. Rough cedar posts and native rock columns hold up the massive roof structure, which is made of heavy cedar beams and decked with tongue and groove cedar planks. Loyd reported that there is more than one mile of cedar boards on the ceiling. The triangle shapes of the hipped green metal roof make a visual reference to the Air Tractor logo.
The sidewalk leading to the pavilion surrounds a large circular flower bed with a large water feature made of stacked stone boulders. Two pink crepe myrtle trees flank each side of the center planting bed. Live Oak trees a planted at each corner of the pavilion, and Leyland Cypress trees are planted along the back and east side of the building to form a future visual barrier and wind break.
The back of the pavilion features a legacy wall with two bronze plaques. One is titled "A Lifetime of Achievement" with a list of all the aircraft designed by Leland and the date of their FAA Certification. The other plaque contains the poem, "Still Flying" written by Air Tractor employee T.J. Phillips shortly after Leland's death. A large rock pedestal in front of the wall will hold a yet-to-be-installed black granite slab etched with photos of a handsome young Leland and the older gray-haired fellow we all knew and loved, with a summary of his life in between.
To begin the short dedication ceremony, Senior Group Leader Donnie Cable said the following: "On July 1, 2008, Air Tractor became 100% employee owned because Leland Snow believed in the input, hard work, and dedication of his employees. And today we dedicate this pavilion to the employees in memory of Leland. Leland's desire was to ensure the employees that Air Tractor would remain a vital part of our community. In establishing the ESOP, he provided a retirement benefit for those employees he truly cared about. We are proud to present the employee owners this pavilion to enjoy and make use of, as we all continue to carry on his legacy as the world leader in agricultural aircraft production."
Kristin Edwards then read an article she had written about Leland's running and one of his favorite quotes by T.S. Eliot which says, "Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go."
After some refreshments and visiting, employees returned to the business of building airplanes.