Taye Yemeru really wanted to go to the coast with his wife that Friday.
He requested the day off work, but was denied. Yemeru’s boss at the Federal Aircraft Administration’s Certificate Management Office in Hillsboro told him he had to be there for an important training session.
Expecting a work meeting, Yemeru entered a carpeted room filled with family, friends, coworkers and U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, who all greeted him with smiles and cheers or applause.
Bonamici presented Yemeru with the FAA’s Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award, which honors selected senior mechanics who have worked in aviation maintenance for at least 50 years and are U.S. citizens, in a surprise ceremony earlier this month at his workplace. Yemeru plans to retire at the end of the year after 57 years as an aviation mechanic, he said.
The honoree’s daughter, Fanaye Taye, flew in from Georgia to attend the ceremony.
“He has always put his family first, then his passion,” Taye said. “He did what he needed to do to provide for us in the field that he loved and he excelled. I’m happy for that.”
Born in 1937, Yemeru grew up in Ethiopia and can speak several dialects of Ethiopian, French and English. He studied maintenance engineering in college, then started working for Ethiopian Airlines right after he graduated, he said.
In 1980, Yemeru moved to the United States. He has since become a citizen and raised his family in Oregon, where he worked for several aircraft carriers before he started at the FAA in 1990, he said. He currently lives in Beaverton.
Read more at: OregonLive.com