The quiet, usually under-the-radar Village of Virginia Gardens was anything but last week when a major event came to this small community.
It was a real “who’s who” event on Thursday, Aug. 29 when a huge air-conditioned tent was erected on the grounds of Boeing Flight Services, just a few hundred yards from VG Village Hall.
Boeing announced last May that it would be moving two flight simulators for its newest model aircraft, the 787 to its Virginia Gardens location and last week the operation was completed and the celebrating began.
Four other simulators were also moved for a total of six and one more will arrive in a few months for a total of seven. When all the dust settles, Boeing's Virginia Gardens campus will have a total of 17 simulators for a variety of airplane models.
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Congressmen Mario Diaz-Balart and Joe Garcia, and State Senator Rene Garcia all were in attendance, but the real “get” of the morning was Florida Governor Rick Scott, who attended as well.
And, of course, proudly seated in the front row was Virginia Gardens Mayor Spencer Deno IV and the entire VG council.
This newest arrival from Boeing will mean upwards of 100 new jobs for the area.
“What a great day not only for Virginia Gardens but the entire River Cities area,” said Deno. “We’re talking here about adding 100 new jobs for this area from housing, to eating to housing the trainees that come in. A real boost for everyone. We’re really grateful to Boeing for showing the confidence in our area to make this kind of move.”
Deno and the rest of the council didn’t just provide lip service, either, because when the hour-long ceremony had concluded, they stepped up on the stage and presented Sherry Carbary, vice president of Flight Services for Boeing, and other officials a commemorative plaque along with a mounted 787 to show their appreciation.
“As an ex-Air Force officer, I have some empathy for anything that flies in the sky,” said Councilman Richard Block. “Boeing has been the leader in all of strategic defense, passenger transportation, a real world competitor and we in VG, from the mayor to the council to every resident here, give them a hearty welcome.”
“I think it’s an awesome addition to our tax revenue, great for the residents of VG,” said Councilwoman Elizabeth Taylor-Martinez. “I feel really bad for the people of Seattle because it’s a wonderful place but, hey, Boeing, come on home to Virginia Gardens, we’re ready for you and welcome you with open arms.”
The greatest moment for the VG contingent was when Ros-Lehtinen took to the podium and gave everyone a friendly reminder.
“While we’ve all made reference to Miami and South Florida today, I just want to remind everyone that today we’re standing in ... VIRGINIA GARDENS,” said Ros-Lehtinen, who would go on to make numerous references to VG and even got the crowd rhetorically saying, Virginia Gardens. “We’re pleased as punch to have a such a wonderful corporate partner in Boeing coming to the area.”