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The party got a late start because the guest of honor was too busy working.
Last Thursday, as friends and colleagues gathered to celebrate Airport Supervisor Joe Ball's retirement, Ball was busy scurrying among offices at the airport's FBO.
"Sorry," he said to the guests as he picked up the ringing phone. "There's a computer down; a plane needs to land."
And a delivery needed to be made and questions needed answers–other facets to Ball's 15-year stint on the job.
"He's made my job so much easier," City Manager Scott Lippmann, who also doubles as the airport manager, said. "I knew things were in good hands here."
And that's the way most people have felt over the years–ever since the airport was a 10-shed, two-paved runways and basically just a lot of dreams.
Former City Manager Brooks Holloway was one of those dreamers and he hired Ball to help make those dreams a reality.
Lippmann gave kudos to the FDOT for all its support through the years but major props were reserved for Ball.
"The aiport is what it is," Lippmann said, "in large measure due to the efforts of Joe Ball."
When people come to Williston Airport, Lippmann said, they often praise Ball and his staff by name for their service and graciousness.
"That's a great reflection on the city of Williston," Lippmann said, "and we have been most fortunate to have him."
Reserved and unassuming, Ball thanked his guests for coming. When asked how he planned to spend his retirement days, he grinned, "Playing catch up at home."