As thrill of flying ends, retired pilot vows to soar high via Church service
Capt. Rizalino “Totoy” Irizari’s poignant speech on his final flight as pilot captured a lot of hearts in the worldwide web – many even commended him for flying over 30,000 hours and lasting 48 years in service.
But the retiree believes his other “service” is not over just yet.
“I think this (flying) is more than enough for me,” Irizari said in an interview with dzMM on Wednesday.
According to him, the last 48 years have mostly been devoted to his company – frequently flying here and there – missing many family occasions.
Prior his stint at Cebu Pacific, Irizari also served as pilot at the Philippines Air Force.
“Noong nasa Cebu Pacific pa ako, maraming panahon na I (should have been) with my family just like Sundays and holidays but my loyalty to the company, the duty to my company prevailed. Madami akong pagkukulang sa pamilya ko na pangangailangan nila sa akin kaya nagpapasalamat ako na they always pray for me even though I’m not around.”
“Sa aking buhay, I have spent almost 50 percent of my life flying and this flying has become my passion but this passion has to come to an end,” he added.
Irizari said that aside from catching up the lost times with his family, what excites him now is having a lot of opportunity to serve the Lord through the Church.
“Now that I’m retired, I’m so excited because I’ll be full time in serving the Church and Lord and second, my family,” he added.
A video showing an emotional Irizari at the door of the cockpit announcing his retirement and delivering his farewell speech before passengers has taken social media by storm since it has offered relief from the growing desperation of stranded passengers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) due to the stuck Xiamen Air jet on the nation’s principal runway.
“Welcome aboard flight 600 (bound) for Cebu…,” an almost cracking Irizari said. “I would like to inform you that in my career, this is my last flight here…My 48 years of flying in aviation… a big thing for me.”
Irizari expressed surprise and gratitude that he is being considered a “role model” and inspiration to people.
“I’m so blessed. Hindi ko akalain na mag-viral. Thank you, Lord. They are so inspired, they saw me as a role model… Thank you to the Lord because these children (have something to) look forward (to),” Irizari said.
“During my flight, every time I saw kids, iyong mga 12 years old, I invite them to be at the cockpit… so that someday may picture sila na para paglaki nila may mindset sila na… I want to become a pilot,” he continued. “Mag-aral lang sila at magiging piloto (sila).” /kga
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