Letter to the Editor

Pawnee president committed to production

Friday, March 2, 2007

EDITOR'S NOTE -- The following letter was sent to the McCook Economic Development Corp. in time for Thursday night's annual meeting:

Mr. Rex Nelson

McCook Economic Development Corp.

301 Norris Ave.

Suite 200

McCook, NE 69001

Dear Rex:

I am very sorry that I cannot attend MEDC's annual meeting. I must leave Thursday for medical tests in Denver. Please read this letter as a report from me when you update everyone at the meeting.

There has been much speculation on Pawnee's progress in getting the helicopter into production and providing jobs for people in Red Willow County.

Things have not progressed as quickly or smoothly as we had planned. Everyone knows about the unfortunate accident we experienced when an aluminum bracket failed, causing us to lose directional control.

We were ready to release the kit for orders the very next day. At that point, our patiently waiting customers would start coming to McCook for demonstration flights; Pawnee would start accepting orders and begin full production.

I made the decision after the accident to personally build the next helicopter myself, to ensure that the parts already manufactured and fabricated would be easily assembled into the helicopter our customers expected. I found several areas that needed further refinement for ease of construction,

Adding to the delay of getting the next aircraft finished has been an aggravating health situation with cancer.

I thought that after my melanoma surgery in September, I was on track to be cancer-free. After tests and biopsies in October and November, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and started numerous tests and treatments that have seriously taken time away from McCook.

I must add that my situation is not serious, but demands that I receive treatment so I do not have serious problems in the future.

It is important that everyone know that I have not quit the project, and I continue to do things as quickly as I can to get Pawnee back to the point where we can take those orders and start production.

One can only be inspired by the work ethic of farmers here in Nebraska.

They seem to have more than their share of hardships from every quarter, but they just tighten their bootstraps and keep going forward. This is exactly what I plan on doing here in McCook. Failure is simply not an option.

My father always told me that if you were doing any worthwhile project Murphy would show up.

What I did not understand was that he might bring his entire family. We have had our difficulties but the product we have strived for is only better because of them.

I respectfully ask for everyone's understanding and patience while I finish the helicopter.

If anyone ever has any questions about anything concerning Pawnee, I invite you to come down to the roundhouse for a visit. The coffee pot is always on.

I am very grateful to the MEDC and Red Willow County for the confidence and opportunity afforded to me in pursuing the American dream.

Despite the setbacks I am committed to bringing this product to market, and assisting in improving the employment situation in this area.

I will continue to work through these difficult times,

Kindest regards,

Ron Willocks


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