Monday, May 19, 2014

The man behind the Rick Dahl Scholarship, and the woman who made it happen.

Just recently Girls With Wings, Inc., announced its 2014 Scholarship Recipients. Girls With Wings' scholarship awards include Private Pilot Scholarships to help defray the cost of flight training lessons in pursuit of a private pilot certificate, targeting those individuals who have soloed but have not completed the Private Pilot Course. Because of a generous donation made in memory of Rick Dahl, an aviation buff who greatly supported women’s achievement in the aviation field, one $2500 award this Spring will be awarded to Natalia's (full essay here).

In addition, the Dreams Take Flight Scholarship was designed to introduce the world of aviation to someone who would benefit from experiencing the joy of flight. This scholarship is intended to fund introductory flight training to encourage achievement of a stated goal, whether in aviation or in another field of study.  There is no prerequisite flight training required for this scholarship, just enthusiasm and the desire to learn. One Dreams Take Flight Scholarship award of $500, again funded in the memory of Rick Dahl, was awarded to Jamie (full essay here).

We wanted to take a minute to tell you about the man behind the award, as shared with us by Jennifer Jordan, who arranged for the funds in memory of her friend, Rick Dahl.

"[Rick] being a goofball."
"Rick Dahl was one of my truest friends in life. We were an odd pair, he was 20 some years my senior. We met when I was a student at K-State working in the print shop, and he was a full time employee there. For whatever reason, our friendship clicked and never wavered. We were at opposite ends of the spectrum in more ways than one. But, we were besties.

From the beginning of my flying days, he was my biggest cheerleader. The day I soloed, I also did a long cross-country with my instructor. Rick met me at an airport, and we celebrated together with breakfast. It was one of the proudest days of my life, and I could see the pride and happiness in his eyes.

Jen in green tee to right
Shortly after Rick passed, I went to Oshkosh for the first time. I met Lynda there, and volunteered at her booth. I fell in love with GWW and their mission. It was a great time. It was then I began formulating my idea to help with her scholarships. Rick was a true philanthropist and champion of rights. He was also a huge aviation buff. I thought it was only right to share with GWW the gift he so generously shared with me. I miss Rick every single day, but I know that this gift helps him to live on. And hopefully, it will inspire the same spirit of giving.

It was an honor and a privilege to donate scholarship funds this year, and to help with the process of selecting winners. Each and every applicant brought joy to my heart. The future of aviation is very bright."

Thank you, Jen, for your generosity in giving funds to Girls With Wings that you could use toward your own flight training, and many thanks to Rick for his support of you. We can all use a cheerleader and a friend to keep an eye on us.

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