Former Atmore airport manager honored at event

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, March 14, 2018

“In my mind, Mickey (Parker) is an unsung hero.”

That’s what Atmore Municipal Airport Manager Freddie McCall Jr. said to describe Parker after an event was held on March 10 to honor the former manager’s legacy.

“He stayed where he stayed and served the community very quietly,” McCall said. “He did his job and kept his head down. He didn’t expect anything from anybody, and did the community a service.”

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Parker worked at the airport for 44-and-a-half years. He washed airplanes, loaded them with chemicals, was a pilot, did maintenance on planes and worked as the airport’s manager until his retirement late last year. Parker is a licensed A&P (airplane and power plant), and IA (inspection and authorization) mechanic. Among his duties at the airport included flying crop dusters for some 25 years.

Parker was born and raised in Atmore, and when he got out of high school, he found a job at the airport.

“My brother was flying and he said maybe they needed some help out there,” he said. “That’s where I kind of started from there. It all fell into place. It came all-natural to me. This is something I had a knack for. I’ve met a lot of people there, and I tried to be fair to people, I hope.”

McCall said Parker impacted a lot of peoples’ lives, including his.

“He wasn’t a flight instructor that I can remember, but he encouraged people who were trying to fly,” he said. “He’s got years of experience as a mechanic. There’s no telling how many lives he saved by pointing out things that needed to be fixed for flights.

“He’s a hero of mine,” he said. “He’s been a mentor for both myself and my son for years in the aviation field. He’s taught us both quite a lot.”

McCall said there are many things that Parker has taught him, but the most important thing is to take one’s time while working on an aircraft.

“I couldn’t put my finger on any one thing,” he said. “He taught me to just be conscious about what you’re doing. He said to be very observant — look for the details because it’s those small tiny details that will bring an airplane down. Look for the small details. Slow down while working on an aircraft. Getting in a hurry kills people.”

Parker said after 44-and-a-half years, it was time to hang the wings up and go home.

“I now mainly enjoy doing things around the house, and cook and bake,” he said.