By Gabriel J. Christian, Esq
Photo Credit: Dominica News Online
Originally published on September 22, 2021
Dominica-born Ethiopian Airlines’, Captain Ronald Hodge, is a 1981 graduate of the Saint Mary’s Academy. In the summer of 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, Gabriel J. Christian (President of Rebuild Dominica, Inc.) shared that he called Rwanda Airlines pilot David Johnson of Dominica: a distinguished and experienced aviator.
After their usual chat about the governance of our island and related matters, Christian reminded David that they must do an interview. He and Irving Andre always felt it the duty of Pont Casse Press to record Dominican people’s history – especially those who have accomplished much.
Such an interview with David would inspire young people to greatness by following role models such as himself. Christian urged David towards such an interview by stating, “David, you must be the only Dominican pilot flying African skies.” “No,” Johnson quickly responded. “I am not. Another Dominican is doing what I am doing. Captain Hodge of Ethiopian Airlines flies all over Africa and beyond,” Johnson went on.
Christian had not heard of Captain Hodge’s aviation exploits and was so fascinated that he immediately researched his profile online. Within minutes Christian had found Hodge on Linked In. He quickly messaged Hodge and in no time, Christian’s phone rang. A very resonant and authoritative voice came on. “What’s going on, Gaibu?’ Johnson said. It was Hodge.
Time and distance may have dimmed Christian’s memory, but Hodge was on target. Hodge reminded Christian that they knew each other and that Johnson’s mother, Agnes Hodge, had been a nurse. Johnson further stated that his mother had worked with Christian’s mother, Alberta Christian, when they were young nurses in the early 1960s. Hodge was born in 1965 from the union between Agnes Hodge and bus driver Joseph Hodge.
“How did you get to be a Captain at Ethiopian Airlines, ” Christian asked? Captain Hodge went on to tell a fascinating story. Hodge was born at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Goodwill, Dominica. He then related his time at Teacher Rose’s famous Fields Lane Kindergarten in Roseau, Dominica. Then it was off to Roseau Boys School, Goodwill Junior High School, and the forbidding Common Entrance, which one needed to pass to enter High School back in the day. Hodge passed and gained entry to the well-regarded Saint Mary’s Academy over which principal Egbert Germaine and the Christian Brothers linked to Iona College in New Rochelle, New York preside.
It was an excellent education that Hodge received, and he appreciated it. A 1981 graduate of the SMA, Hodge worked with the Ministry of Communications and Works, Post Office and then Customs. He associated with local pilots flying Leeward Island Air Transport (LIAT) such as Captain Derek Perryman, David Armour, and others such as Paul Edwards, Ian Pringle, and CK Shillingford. Hodge credits these men, especially Perryman and Armour, for encouraging his growing desire to embark on a career in aviation.
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