Captain Kirby Hodge - through the eyes of his family
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There are many persons in this world who defy the norm. They use their time on this Earth to selflessly give of themselves without a thought. They put others first at every given opportunity because they believe that a fulfilled life is all about caring, sharing and loving. This is the kind of person Captain Kirby Hodge is.
To know Kirby Hodge is to love Kirby Hodge. He has dedicated his life to serving others, and defines the essence of a gentleman. He is a man of integrity, humility, great personal and professional pride, and maintains an aura of serenity in any situation. As a businessman, his combined skill and talent makes him one of the most reputable and respected individuals in the Caribbean.
A renowned pilot from a young age, he was one of the first persons, selected by his then employer, to captain a jet - for the U.S. military -into Panama during the Noriega crisis. As a father, husband, brother, uncle, cousin or friend, Kirby is one to never miss an opportunity to attend a family gathering or lend a helping hand.
As everyone may know by now, Kirby was in command of a private Piper Aztec plane that crashed into the sea less than 10 miles away from St. Thomas during the early morning hours on Oct. 13, 2012. On board were three persons whom he was graciously giving a ride to St. Thomas, as was his custom when making runs between the Islands. The one survivor from this crash tells a tale of Kirby's heroism in the crucial moments after the plane landed in the open sea. He did what anyone who knows him would expect him to do: help others at any cost. After skillfully bringing the plane down, his first instinct was to attempt to save the lives of his three friends. This is not hearsay; this is a factual account from the survivor.
We reflect on the biblical story of the Good Samaritan. In layman's terms, a "Good Samaritan" is one who helps others in need, for compassionate motives only and with no thought of reward. This is an accurate depiction of what Kirby Hodge did on the morning of Oct. 13. He enjoyed giving of himself, of his time and of his talents. He was offering his friends a ride, with no thought of reward or payment. The Bible tells us in John 15:13: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." We have no reservations in saying that we know Kirby would have done all possible to ensure the safety of his friends, first and foremost, even if it cost him his life.
At this time, our family is extremely grateful for the vast outpouring of love and support, both at home and from around the world. We remain hopeful and faithful that a miracle is still out there for Kirby and his friends, as no bodies have been found.
It is truly in times of crisis that we realize the irreplaceable value of relationships and friendships. For this, our family says thank you. The final outcome is still in God's hands, but regardless of that outcome, my brother, Captain Kirby Hodge, is a man of heroic courage and one of the best pilots to ever grace the Caribbean skies over the last 40 years.
Continue to keep him and his friends in your prayers.
- The Family of Captain Kirby Hodge