Boise Airport Chaplain Warren Milanowski is faithful to send out updates regarding their airport ministry. We would like to share with you the report most recently received because it captures so well both what people are facing right now and how God’s people have ministered to others over the years. Here is the report:
Dear Friends and Family:
While there is nowhere near the traffic we had been experiencing months ago, passenger travel has grown considerably in recent months. At the beginning of the business shutdown, there was only one restaurant open for business. (Einstein’s Bagels) I personally have had passengers complain about the lack of food available. Now there are three restaurants available, one where you can actually have a seat, either at the bar or at a table. Now we have heard that some major airports are less busy than ours in Boise. At one point, about a month ago, a Southwest employee shared that their flights in Boise are fuller than anywhere else on their entire system. American has removed the limitation on seating and reporting heavy, often full passenger loads. Obviously, flight schedules have been drastically reduced, and it will no doubt be some time before “normal” traffic returns. Nevertheless, employees are encouraged by the return of passengers.
It’s to be expected that with the decrease in passenger flow, staffing has been reduced. Delta in Boise has lost about a dozen employees, many taking an early retirement package. Those positions will not be filled. Additionally, Delta Airlines reports that up 3,000 crew member positions will be eliminated. To my knowledge, one airline has completely ceased to operate. Other major carriers, including United and American, foresee major reductions in flight operations, which will, of course, result in eliminations of many jobs. A good friend at United, the manager here in Boise, has seen his position in Boise eliminated and has already transferred to Portland, where he was previously employed. He is one of the fortunate ones who has kept his job.
No doubt many of you know of people, perhaps family members, whose jobs have been affected by the business shutdown. I share these things about the airport because as chaplains here in the airport, Doug and I hear, more than usual, comments that our presence here is appreciated. Employees appreciate knowing they are being prayed for. There are more opportunities than ever to pray for and with employees.
Three years ago, we established a “Wall Of Fame” in our chapel, its purpose to recognize Christian employees who represent Christ in the way they do their work and in their relationships in the workplace. The first employee whose name was engraved on the plaque was Terri Cortez, an employee of U S Airways, who was known to her boss for her leadership and work ethic, and to co-workers and peers with other airlines for her warm personality and positive attitude. Terri went home to be with the Lord after a long battle with cancer.
In September, we added three names to our plaque, all exhibiting the characteristics necessary to warrant the award. Molly Kennedy was a TSA inspector. Like Terry, she also went home to be with the Lord, in her case due to Lou Gehrig’s disease. In her position as an inspector, she easily could have been a person an employee was not to happy to see enter the work area. But Molly’s view of her responsibility was not to simply look for security lapses, but to help the various companies and employees make their work area a safe place to work. She was loved and respected by all. Addison King is the Custodial Manager at the airport, and Daniel Nedich is the United Airlines Manager, whom I shared about earlier and is now in Portland with United Airlines. Both men show a deep respect and care for the employees they oversee, and both spent considerable time in the chapel where we prayed together. There was a small group of people who joined us for a little ceremony honoring these employees, one of them being Rebecca Hupp, our Airport Director, who shared her appreciation to Doug and I for honoring employees for the work they do. Homeland Security Field Service Director Andrew Coos was also in attendance and presented a Homeland Security commemorative Idaho coin to Daniel Nedich for the role he played in gathering assistance for TSA employees during last year’s government shutdown.
During these changing times in our community, our country, and the world, there is an atmosphere of confusion, often anger, fear, and uncertainty about the future. We are bombarded with conflicting opinions, an uncertain economy and employment concerns. Violent demonstrations have become commonplace, and many people are wondering if the country we have known is lost forever. Doug and I know we are in the airport at this time to be a voice of hope and encouragement. We pray often for the opportunity to show the love of Jesus to those we meet, and to be a voice of hope and encouragement that some would come to know the source of OUR hope and encouragement, the Lord Jesus.
Pray for continued favor for us in the airport and for many opportunities to be salt and light in Boise’s Gateway To The Northwest.
Warren “Ski” Milanowski