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Mandan airport renamed in honor of late director

Mandan airport renamed in honor of late director

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The Mandan airport will be renamed in honor of its late director.

The city commission unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday to change the airport's name from the Mandan Municipal Airport to Mandan Regional Airport - Lawler Field in honor of former airport manager Jim Lawler, who died in October.

"Mr. Lawler had basically dedicated his life to that airport," former Airport Authority board member Dale Klein said Tuesday. "For over 40 years, he was Mandan aviation."

Klein proposed the change to the Airport Authority board in December. The switch from "municipal" to "regional" in the name reflects the facility's growth over the years.

"Under Mr. Lawler's guidance, the airport did grow from a municipal or city airport into a much bigger presence," Klein said.

The airport also is changing its identifier from "Y19" to "KJLL" to reflect its status as a larger airport with equipment such as instrument approach and weather reporting. Airport Manager Lindsay Gerhardt told the Tribune that identifiers with numbers signify smaller facilities while letters tell a pilot he or she is flying into a larger airport. The "JLL" is to represent Lawler.

The airport will be getting a new sign to reflect the change and will hold a small dedication ceremony in June, Gerhardt said.

Mayor Tim Helbling, who is Lawler's brother-in-law, called the name change a "very proud moment."

"He was an amazing man, and he had a true passion for the airport," Helbling said.

Reach Sam Nelson at 701-250-8264 or sam.nelson@bismarcktribune.com.

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