NASPA’s Tribute to M L Stephen Hanley

M.L Stephen Hanley was a good man, I dear to say, a great man, and most pleasing to me, he was a godly man. While I stand here to speak on behalf of the Board of Directors, Mr. Colin Dore as Chairman, Management and the 105 employees of the Nevis Air and Seaports Authority, it is well known that Steve was more than just a colleague to me. As General Manager, he was my deputy, my friend in the truest sense, and for me, most importantly, my brother in the faith. We both had many reasons to look out for each other – as we would say, “…to watch each other’s back”.    

Mr. Stephen Hanley started his journey with NASPA in March of 1998. He was among the first group of trained Air Traffic Controllers and Meteorological Officers at the then Newcastle Airport, now the Vance W. Amory International Airport. He was trained with others like Shelley Weekes Mr. Daron Sutton, Virgil Browne and Rohan Walwyn, and worked alongside Mr. Brian Dyer. Steve received much satisfaction in graduating with distinction in his Meteorological course. Later, he also pursued a degree course in Business Management in his endeavour to enhance his effectiveness. 

He was so dedicated and hardworking, that he quickly moved up the ladder as Chief of Air Traffic Services, Operations Manager and then Airport Manager, succeeding the Hon. Carlisle Powell. He also served as Secretary to the Board of Directors up to the time of his passing. In addition, he sat on the National Civil Authority Security Committee, he was a member of the SKN Open Skies Negotiating Team, and an Aviation Security Trainer   His impact and influence in his field was far reaching. Today we have evidence of that, with the presence of a representative from the office of the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority in Antigua, a contingent from the St. Christopher Air and Seaports Authority, the Department of Civil Aviation and the Department of Maritime Affairs.     

Steve lit every area of the Port that he traversed with his trademark smile. But while we speak of his contagious smile, let us not forget his coveted laughter. His whole body danced whenever he laughed.  

Who was Steve, I asked the staff. The many responses came – one who was helpful, caring, calm, organized, meticulous, hardworking, diligent, ambitious, professional and my favourite, - he was a decent man. Steve was easy to work with and the staff clearly loved him dearly.  

He was committed and determined to get things done. Without losing his smile, he went the extra mile. Early after the onset of his illness, we sought to leave Steve out of certain work matters so he can concentrate on getting better. He sure wanted to get better but he thought he needed to keep his mind busy and occupied with what was happening on the job. He worked especially on his cell phone, checking and sending emails and communicating by whatsapp, anything he thought was relevant. This he did right down to his last days. His faith was strong, his hope was enduring and he looked forward to going back to work. This was very evident to me, based on a certain project he started to work on, just about three (3) days before he passed.  

The past few weeks especially, have been very trying for us at NASPA. NASPA will never be the same without the man who gave his best in performing his duties. We have lost a cherished friend, a dear colleague and one who had a good view and understanding of both sides of the fence and was able to serve the employees and employer well. I lost a deputy that I was not going to trade for anyone else.   The Board, Management and Staff thank the Almighty God first of all for lending Steve to us as part of his purpose on earth. We thank the family for standing with him and being a tremendous support for him in making NASPA a better establishment. It is our prayer, that God will comfort his beloved wife, Dionne, their children, the parents, siblings and the entire family.  

Steve, the whole family of the Nevis Air and Seaports Authority will miss you dearly. We have cried, sobbed and even asked why. But we believe that your going on is for the Lord’s pleasure. The saints beckon you and the witnesses of heaven welcome you to a place most happy and glorious. At the Airport the aircrafts wave in respect. In Charlestown the ferries sail with gratitude. And at Long Point the ships dock in admiration.   Rest in Peace, our Brother Steve, as we remember in song, the love shared and more so, the Power of God’s love.    

O. Brandy – Gen. Manager