Hayden Kehres

Hayden Kehres

MANSFIELD -- In 2016 the Mansfield Aviation Club (MAC) established a goal to help ensure the future of aviation in north central Ohio.

To achieve this goal, the club decided to become a 501 c (3) non-profit for the purpose of offering aviation scholarships. Learning to fly can be expensive and the club believed these scholarships would enable aspiring aviators the opportunity to pursue their dream of becoming a pilot.

The club soon completed the required federal and state requirements, and thanks to a generous donation by one of the club’s members, the scholarship program was able to offer its first scholarship in 2017. To administer the program, MAC leadership met with the Richland County Foundation and entered into an agreement for the foundation to manage the scholarship fund and host the application process on its web site.

The following year MAC was able to offer a $1,000 aviation scholarship, but to ensure the viability of the program it needs to attract additional donors. Since the Richland County Foundation already had programs to accomplish this, the club registered for the annual Richland Gives fundraising drive.

Being new to that program, the donations were modest at best, but a local Mansfield company -- TE Connectivity -- expressed an interest in the program.

After meeting with company representatives and completing the necessary paperwork, the club received a generous donation which has continued every year since. Since then, additional donations have been received which are helping to ensure the program will continue.

The Aviation Club has been very pleased with the progress of the scholarship program but soon received even better news. The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), a leader in general aviation development and education located in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, was initiating a new scholarship program called the Ray Aviation Scholarship, created with funding by James Ray, an EAA member who believed in the life skills of discipline, character, and confidence developed throughout the flight training journey.

The program would provide up to $10,000 to deserving youths totaling nearly $1 million in scholarships annually. EAA manages the Ray Aviation Scholarship program and makes its selection of the chapters to receive the funds from the 900 world-wide EAA chapters. The Mansfield Aviation Club made its application and was very pleased to learn that our club was selected for the first year of the program in 2019 and was recently informed that we were also selected for 2020.

The results of these two aviation scholarship programs has been outstanding.

Lily Ericsson, who received both the 2018 and 2019 MAC Aviation Scholarships, has completed her Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight training requirements and is now a certified pilot.

Hayden Kehres, the EAA Chapter 148 recipient of the 2019 EAA Ray Aviation Scholarship has also completed his training and is also a certified pilot.

The club wants to thank all who have supported these aviation scholarships, and congratulate these outstanding candidates on completing their flight training to become a pilot.

MAC Aviation Scholarship applications can be accessed by visiting the Richland County Foundation www.richlandcountyfoundation.org/grants-and-scholarships/scholarships/apply-for-a-scholarship or Mansfield Aviation Club www.mansfieldavclub.com web sites. Applications are being accepted now through March 31.

Donations to support the MAC Aviation Scholarship Program can be made through the website www.mansfieldavclub.com and the Richland County Foundation www.richlandgives.mightycausecom.

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