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   Vol. 15  No. 14
Wednesday February 17, 2016

My Friend In Holland
Reprinted from FlyingTypers June 7, 2010

My Friend In Holland

Jos Lead
A Warsaw summer afternoon from Polska 1963.

Jos     My friend in Holland, Jos van der Woensel, is currently in the fight of his life.
     Dutch-born van der Woensel spent 18 years as an air cargo GSA for a company he started called Zygene EFC bv.
     Prior to that time, Jos was part of the famed “Foreign Legion” and was a disciple of Al Levinson at Seaboard World Airways.
     Later, Jos would build a solid reputation at Pan Am Clipper Cargo.
     After Pan Am fell and went out of business, Jos moved into his fortune-making role as an air cargo GSA. His first account as GSA was LOT Polish Airlines.
     He retired in 2005 after selling his company.
     That same year, he met the great photographer, Peter Schumacher, and the duo created a landmark coffee table picture book, “Polska 1963.”
     It served as a complete time capsule capturing another era and represented a masterful collection of great people caught in sensitive, emotional pictures depicting everyday life – at the market, sunbathing on the now vanished Wisla beaches at Warsaw and Krakow, and generally enJoying life despite the turbulent political circumstances.
     As an homage to a great people and created with a beautiful master’s touch, “Polska 1963” is at once uplifting and should be treasured now as this country emerges as the true geographical center of Europe.
     So it is that later in life, Jos became this most accomplished photographer and writer. He has even contributed some writing for Air Cargo News/FlyingTypers, like the wonderful story “A Tree Grows at Schiphol” written about a Redwood tree that was planted at Schiphol Airport by Seaboard Cargo people in 1969 and still stands today.
     Jos is able to translate exactly what he sees into pictures that transform those minute things that most would outright dismiss, creating dramatic montages with a level of detail and sweep that reminds me of the movie director Sergei Eisenstein.
     But now, doctors have discovered that Jos is suffering from a terrible cancer that challenges him in almost every way possible, sapping all but his spirit.
     For the past few months we have received short and very brave updates from Jos, like the one that came this Saturday:
     “Last Thursday/Friday I was again at the Academic Hospital for further in-depth tests and the outcome was again non-conclusive but more-over, in some ways, not too good either.
     “For that reason, the Medical Team did decide to operate on me again this Tuesday (June 8) and try to remove 2 or 3 of the neck-tumors to match them with the last removals a week ago.
     “The result of these tests will take most of the next coming weeks, so don't worry if you do not hear from me until the end of June.
     “Hope to get back to you all after my coming operation, with hopefully some good news.
     “I am still in a fighting spirit; reading, writing, filming and photographing like in the old days.
     “As Churchill once said (with a little twist of my own):
     "We will fight it on the oceans, we will fight it on the beaches; in the streets and in the squares; we will fight, but we will Never Surrender!"
     Jos is standing up and facing the demon.
     His outlook has deepened our appreciation of the strength and power of the human spirit.
     We often ponder over the passing scene in these editions, recalling people we once knew moving out of air cargo and our lives.
     Rarely can we truly share these moments and celebrate the experiences of a very brave man.
     Jos encourages and inspires us, and we want him to know that.
     Let it be said that air cargo takes care of its own.

If You Missed Any Of The Previous 3 Issues Of FlyingTypers
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