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Two Nevada Wing Cadets are Awarded the Major Billy R. Edwards Memorial Flight Scholarship

Two Nevada Wing Cadets are awarded the Maior Billy R. Edwards Memorial Flight Scholarship

Written by 1st Lt. Jeanne Murphy


ln June of 2020, Nevada Wing lost a very dedicated and beloved member, Major Billy R. Edwards. Following his death, Bill's family members and many friends established and funded a flight scholarship to honor Bill's Civil Air Patrol Service and to help carry on his passion of flying and the cadet program. The Major Billy R. Edwards Memorial Flight Scholarship is to be awarded to a Nevada Wing Civil Air Patrol cadet each year. The scholarship will fund the cadet's training in a Civil Air Patrol aircraft up to their solo flight. This being the inaugural year, the scholarship founders decided to honor Bill's memory by awarding two scholarships decided by an application, competitive scoring criteria and interview process. 

This year the Founders of the Scholarship and The Nevada Wing Civil Air Patrol are pleased to announce that C/Lt Col Dana Surwill of the Henderson Composite Squadron and C/2nd Lt Luz Sandoval of the Carson City Composite Squadron are the inaugural awardees of the flight scholarship. Each cadet will have the cost of their flight time, FAA Medical, headset and FAA Check ride paid for by the scholarship fund.

These two young ladies were chosen from several applicants to receive the scholarship based on their Civil Air Patrol experience, education achievements and civic activities. A few of their accomplishments follow:

C/Lt Col Dana Surwill, an Eaker Cadet, started college full time at the age of 16. She typically carries a full load of 18 credits per semester at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a GPA of 3.72. She has earned 106 college credits with a Major in Pre-professional Biology, and is in the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps. She aspires to be a physician in the United States Air Force Pilot-Physicians Program. She has held virtually all positions in the cadet program and has numerous ES qualifications. She also is an avid Gymnast and volunteers with Children of the American Revolution, Three Square and the Wreaths Across America. She has the honor of having earned the Civil Air Patrol's Community Service Ribbon with two bronze clasps for the many hours of service she has volunteered to many different organizations. C/Lt Col Surwill is the epitome of a Civil Air Patrol cadet and future leader of America. Whatever path Dana takes in life she will be highly successful and hopefully this scholarship will help her to begin her journey as a flight surgeon in the United States Air Force.

C/1st Lt Luz Sandoval has been a cadet member of Civil Air Patrol for over two years. She attends the Nevada Connection Academy Online Public School and has a 4.05 GPA. Cadet Sandoval is the cadet Commander of her squadron, is ES qualified and participates in SAREXs. She is a member of the Cadet Advisory Council and has attended the Pacific Region Cadet Leadership School. She started her flight training at the age of 13 and soloed in a glider at 14 years of age. She also participated in the EAA Young Eagles Program and the APA Youth Fellowship. Some of her awards are: 2019 Nevada cadet Competition-Wing Commander's Award of Excellence, 2019 Nevada Training Corps Squadron Honor Cadet, Kenneth "K3" Sturgill Award and the Pacific Region RCLS Seminar Honor Graduate. C/1't Lt Sandoval aspires to become a United States Air Force fighter pilot and someday fly with the USAF Thunderbirds. The scholarship founders have no doubt that Luz will one day achieve all her goals and the scholarship will give her a head start by helping her to reach her powered aircraft solo more than likely on her sixteenth birthday in August of 2027.

The founders of The Billy R. Edwards Memorial Flight Scholarship are proud to award these two outstanding Civil Air Patrol cadets the inaugural scholarships. Major Edwards would have been proud to help these cadets achieve their powered solo flights and go on to earn their wings. He was the epitome of what a Civil Air Patrol mentor should be. A former C/Lt Col himself, Air Force Veteran, Private Pilot and Helicopter pilot. He devoted much of his free time to Civil Air Patrol as a Squadron Commander, Encampment Commander, Director of Cadet Programs, Mission Pilot, Orientation Pilot, GliderTow Pilot and Green Flag Scanner. Bill loved to fly and to pass on his knowledge of flying to all around him, especially cadets. This scholarship will be given each year to the most deserving Nevada Wing cadet with the hopes of carrying on Bill's memory and his passion for Civil Air Patrol.

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