HARTSVILLE – Edward Maurice Lemond has been awarded the Charles Taylor Award for his half-century dedication to ensuring that aircraft in Florence, Hartsville, Lake City, and surrounding areas can safely sweep the skies.
FAA officials from western Columbia presented the award to Lemond at Hartsville Regional Airport, where he works as an aircraft maintenance technician.
The Charles Taylor ‘Master Mechanic’ award is named in honor of Charles Taylor, the first flight mechanic on powered flight. The Charles Taylor Award is given for lifetime achievement by senior mechanics.
Taylor worked as a mechanic for the Wright brothers and is credited with designing and building the engine for the first successful aircraft. The award is one of the most prestigious with only 6000 people taking the award nationwide.
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Surrounded by family, friends and co-workers, LeMond said the award meant everything to him.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Lemond. “I have always enjoyed what I do. This award makes me proud of myself and everything I have done.”
Lemmond received an associate’s degree from Florence Darlington Technical College in 1971 in aviation maintenance and has worked in aviation maintenance ever since.
“I started working part-time at Florence Regional Airport while I was going into tech,” said Lymonds. “I started working full time after I got my degree.”
After working full time at Florence Regional Airport, LeMond went on to open his own business which he ran for many years until Florence Airport took over. Lemond said he loves the area and enjoys spreading his wealth of knowledge in the local community.
“I grew up in Dillion,” said LeMond. “I graduated from Dillon High School and went to work in Florence where I worked mostly there and in other surrounding areas. There are not many people in aviation. I am one of the few in the area who have been doing this for years.”
LeMond said he enjoys flying and came to Hartsville a few years ago and joked that he was semi-retired. He said he wants to give all his knowledge to the younger generation and wants to push young people to start a career in aviation.
“I try to help anyone who wants to get into this field,” said LeMond. “I want to share my knowledge and will direct anyone interested.”
Lemmond said he cares about safety and tells his clients that he wouldn’t put anyone into anything they wouldn’t put their family into.
“I enjoyed my work, the people I met, and my clients,” said LeMond. “It’s good that I was able to do what I did for such a long time.”
James Dangerfield, who presented the award to Lemond of the Federal Aviation Administration, said the award represents mechanics who have served 50 years working on aircraft safely.
“It’s a prestigious award,” Dangerfield said. “Very few of these awards are given. Mr. Lemond is well deserved and I am excited for him.”
Brian Sherby, who works with Lemmond at Rise Aero, and 2018 Charles Taylor awardee, said Lemmond is a special person who is always ready to lend a hand.
“He’s a top-notch mechanic and this award is proof of that,” said Sherby. “Morris is an amazing guy and he is always ready to step up. He loves airplanes, and his love is clear for the aviation industry.”
Sherby added that LeMond is more comfortable than he’s ever been.
Shaun Anderson, who recently became a lead coach at Rise Aero, said Lemmond was a pleasure working with him.
“Anytime we have a question or a problem,” Anderson said. “He always gives a quick answer. If we need a screwdriver of a certain size, he always helps us find it and is really happy to work with him.”
Anderson said that LeMond is always kind and that his wealth of experience helps him guide him as he makes his way through the flight.
“It guides me really well,” Anderson said. “It’s so good to be around. It’s so good to have someone watching over you and making sure you’re doing everything right. It’s an example that you can be in aviation for 50 years and be successful and that inspires me to stay and do the same.”
Mark De Fields, the fixed-base operator at Hartsville Regional Airport, said having two people on the award-winning staff allows the airport to keep people safe, troubleshoot problems, and provide solutions to problems quickly and efficiently.
“It’s such an honor to have these people work for me and be part of the team,” said Davids. “We are such a big family here and we are so grateful that the FAA came to join us today and award Mr. Lemond with the Charles Taylor Award.”
DeFields said Hartsville Airport is back on the rise and having people with such a wealth of experience take the airport to the next level.
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