By Chris Sasser
Texas A&M Transportation Institute
Forgive airport manager Dennis O’Bryant if he’s ready to take a deep breath, relax and reap some of the benefits (and the occasional slap on the back) of his recent run of improvements at the Hutchison County Airport (KBGD) in Borger.
In the past few years, he’s overseen a ramp improvement project, the repair of many feet of runway cracks, the resurfacing of runways and taxiways, the improvement of drainage and the widening of hangar access. The airport also opened a new terminal building in September 2011 and recently finished installing 18,000 feet of game-proof fencing.
“Our original terminal building was about 60 years old,” said O’Bryant. “Our new facility is a major upgrade with amenities such as a pilot lounge, flight planning area with internet access and a weather briefing area.”
The improvements and stellar customer service have not gone unnoticed, as evidenced by a recent “Letter to the Editor” published in the January 29, 2013, edition of the Borger News Herald. According to O’Bryant, the author of the letter, Jim Robins, has been a regular visitor to the airport for several years. Originally attracted by the cheap Jet A fuel, he’s continued his patronage of the airport for the good service and first-class amenities.
The following is Mr. Robins’ letter, which is reprinted with permission from the Borger News Herald:
Weekend visitor appreciates hospitality of the City of Borger
Dear Borger Friends –
On Saturday morning, enroute from Chicago, I stopped for fuel at your Hutchinson County Airport, with its marvelous new operations building and friendly staff. I had hoped to continue on to my home in Santa Fe, NM, but weather, particularly the risk of ice, blocked my route and prevented my departure.
Tracy Ferguson, the airport’s line service manager, and one of the friendliest people I’ve ever met, set me up with a car; a great motel recommendation and a few tips about what to do and where to go. l’ve had the same royal treatment in the past from Dennis O’Bryant, the airport manager.
So, in a former police cruiser used by the airport as a crew car (people kept waving at me), I set off to spend my day in Borger.
I toured your wonderful Historical Museum and learned about Asa Borger, shot nine times by a tax assessor who was never convicted; the Battle of Adobe Walls; the history behind Thomas Hart Benton’s famous oil painting “Boomtown”; and a host of other things. The gentleman who manned the sign-in book was a great host, and a good time was had by all.
I cruised and walked the mall downtown, which has clearly seen better days, but was fun none the less. And after a bit of cruising around in my Ford Interceptor, with spotlight, I settled down at a local eatery for some college football on several big screen TVs and a burger. Finally, back to the motel to plan for my flight home on Sunday and a good night’s sleep.
So, why the letter?
You have a wonderful town, and the airport with its new operations center is a fabulous asset. Think about it: I spent almost $1,000 on fuel; plan a modest gift to the museum; was able to patronize a very nice motel which had freshly made warm cookies at 3pm, and enjoyed a meal and good comradery at a local eatery.
Local airports are good business, and yours is first class. The staff is marvelous. Thanks to your community for investing in this wonderful asset.
See you soon,
Santa Fe, NM
For more information on the Hutchison County Airport, visit their website at http://www.hutchinsoncountyairport.com/fuel.php.