Congressman Jim Oberstar was a true champion of aviation safety. For over four decades, he fought for enhanced safety standards in aviation and all modes of transportation with tremendous passion, energy and care. He was still active on these issues up until this past week. His passing is a very sad event for NATCA and everyone who had the great pleasure of working with this incredible leader and statesman.
Congressman Oberstar was a legendary figure to NATCA as a member and also Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, in addition to being a great friend. He deeply understood and respected the work of every NATCA member and valued our service as safety professionals. He fought for transportation workers with great zeal, and with NATCA, he never stopped working to ensure fairness for our workplaces and collective bargaining rights.
NATCA created the Sentinel of Safety Award in 2005 as a way to honor a member of the aviation community who has displayed outstanding achievement in the advancement of aviation safety. NATCA presented the first award to Congressman Oberstar. The work he has done on behalf of aviation safety is unparalleled. We will continue our work as aviation safety professionals, inspired by his memory and achievements. We join with the transportation world in mourning this loss, but are forever grateful for the legacy he leaves. NATCA extends our deepest condolences to his family.