Wendi Jordan is a military child, service member, future pilot, and lifelong student. And I say lifelong because she’s determined to never stop learning — a value her dad instilled in her from a young age.
At Eastern Kentucky University, Wendi is a part of three separate aviation clubs. She’s also working two jobs, getting flight hours for her private pilot’s license, volunteering, and going to school full-time. Her drive to fulfill her dream to be a pilot — no matter what obstacles have stood in her way — is the reason she was selected as a top three finalist for the OurMilitary.com Veteran Recognition Scholarship.
You can read Wendi’s essay about what inspired her education here:
My Inspiration, My Father, My Hero by Wendi Jordan
School to me always seemed like this great puzzle; something to always be done and to work on. I loved school and it always struck me odd when I found out other kids did not. Being able to study at home with my dad and bring home a good test grade used to make him smile so much. I think that rooted my love for education and school. He was always my biggest inspiration and number one supporter. We used to spend hours on flashcards for math or in front of a chalkboard for grammar. It may seem boring to some, but to me it’s something I cherished.
My dad served as an Air Force fighter pilot, and in the beginning of his career he fought in the Gulf War. After he ended his military career, he became a cargo pilot for UPS. Though he was not home often growing up, he always made it count when he was. His advice was to try your best in school — not just because it’s important to keep up good marks, but because it’s important to become knowledgeable in all the things you do. He lived by this; I do not believe there was one subject I could bring up that he did not know anything about. Since those days in the kitchen debating on a topic, or struggling to get through arithmetics, I have strived to be just like my father.
At the time I maintained a 4.3 GPA, took college classes, ran varsity for cross country and pole vaulted while working part-time, and I still had time for JROTC community service work. When graduation day came, I set out to be a pilot. I learned very quickly it is not that easy — between the costs, time and school that goes into being a pilot, it virtually seemed impossible. Well, I thought, that’s fine — I’ll just be an Air Force pilot. But, it seems not everything is that simple. Air Force standards for pilots are high. I failed out because I was too short. It was a small obstacle and I was not going to just give up. So to help offset the cost of tuition and college debt, I enlisted in the Air National Guard. I went to basic training where I was selected as an honor graduate. I then went to Virginia for technical school training and graduated salutatorian.
When I finally made it back to Kentucky, I started immediately with flying lessons for my private pilot’s license and took 17 credit hours. That is where I am now; I work two jobs after I get out of my classes and on the weekends I work at the Air National Guard base in Louisville. I have joined three aviation clubs here at Eastern Kentucky University: Women In Aviation, Alpha Eta Rho, and ACE club. I can never give back all the time my father gave to me but at least I will make sure it was not just wasted time. Through all the trials I have already faced, I always come back to those times with my inspiration, sitting at the kitchen table doing math problems with my dad.
I connect deeply with this organization, as you’re trying to recognize veterans for the great service they provided this country with. I want to keep my father’s legacy going through my pilot training and my service in the Air National Guard. This scholarship would help immensely as it would help relieve the stress of working two jobs while being a full-time student in college. I could put those hours I spend working into hours I spend with my clubs on community service work, as well as flight time to help me realize my dream of becoming a pilot.
OurMilitary.com is proud to share this essay from Wendi Jordan and stories like hers. Read one from the fall scholarship winner here.