ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – In 1984 Larry Gill retired from the Air Force, finding purpose in community involvement and local politics. Just five years later he joined the Abilene Airport advisory board. He held his position as board chairman for 33 years and is now retiring.
“One of my real pleasures in life has always been working with people like Don Green and his staff, who are always moving forward,” Gill said at his final advisory board meeting.
Don Green is Director of Transportation for the City of Abilene – the third person to hold that title under Gill’s tenure as chairman. He told KTAB/KRBC the Airport’s future is looking brighter than ever thanks to the progress set forth by Gill and past airport staff.
“We’ve never tried to grow beyond what we needed to be,” said Green. “We’ve had just very solid leadership, and Larry Gill is part of that.”
The airport has grown into an economic driving force for the city, bringing in visitors and businesses – many of which now call Abilene ‘home.’ It’s a reputation built on the hard work of staffers like Gill.
“Businesses do not want to relocate their operations to a city that doesn’t have air service,” explained Green. “We really had to struggle over the years to convince airlines that they could come here and do well… In the early days that was the issue. Nobody ever saw Abilene as having much of a future.”
After adjourning his final Advisory board meeting on December 14, 2022, Gill watched as yet another airplane took off from the tarmac. Certain, he told KTAB/KRBC, that the staff will continue to carry the airport further and always forward.
“We’ve had a little time to think about it, and contemplate life without him on the board, but we’re gonna miss him,” Green shared. “I’m gonna miss him.”
To fill the chairman position, the City of Abilene appointed former Abilene Convention & Visitors Bureau Executive Director, Nanci Liles.