-- JetBlue Pilot inspires student to seek career in aviation --
NEW YORK, Sept. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Ten years ago, JetBlue Airways (Nasdaq: JBLU) Captain Eric Scott invited a young traveler to visit the cockpit and unknowingly changed this boy's life.
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Elijah Hedrington was just five years old, traveling to Burlington, VT as part of the Fresh Air Fund. This program provides free summer experiences to New York City children from low-income communities. Elijah's escort happened to be Sheila Donnell, a JetBlue Inflight crewmember who volunteers for the program. On this flight, Sheila introduced Elijah to Capt. Scott. Capt. Scott invited Elijah into the cockpit.
At that very instant, Elijah decided he wanted to become a pilot, just like Capt. Scott. "He became a role model to me at that moment. He's my hero. I look up to him," Elijah said during a recent reunion with Capt. Scott.
Now at age 14, Elijah is continuing on his path to become a pilot. He is a sophomore at Bronx Aerospace High School, and a member of the school's robotics team that is building an airplane and seeking permission from the FAA to fly the aircraft. After recently hearing that Elijah is following in his footsteps, Capt. Scott offered to become Elijah's mentor to help keep him on track and encourage his career aspirations.
JetBlue arranged a reunion for Capt. Scott and Elijah in August at JetBlue's Terminal 5 (T5) at New York's JFK airport. Capt. Scott treated Elijah and a group of his friends to a special behind-the-scenes tour of T5.
"When I was coming up in aviation, I had a mentor. So when I heard that Elijah wanted a mentor I was motivated. I knew this was how I got this far, with someone teaching me the ropes. I know I can teach him a lot," said Capt. Scott. "At JetBlue, all pilots receive a professional mentor. It's about giving back to those that show an interest in our profession. It's not a job for us, it is a passion."
Capt. Scott has been with JetBlue for 11 years and is passionate about mentoring. He's the lead mentor at his alma mater, University of North Dakota, and is involved with JetBlue's University Gateway Program, a pilot talent pipeline program in conjunction with university programs and regional airlines. As Elijah's mentor, Capt. Scott will provide career and academic advisement.
Because Capt. Scott currently resides in the Midwest, far from Elijah, he also enlisted a back-up, First Officer Jovan O'Bryant, who lives in New York, to serve as Elijah's local mentor. Fittingly, Capt. Scott also served as a professional mentor to First Officer O'Bryant when he joined JetBlue three years ago. "I plan to be there for Elijah, whether he asks me a question over the phone, email, or face to face," said First Officer O'Bryant.
Elijah looks forward to the day he can give back. "When I become a pilot for JetBlue I would like to be a mentor, so I can give someone the opportunity that I had today," he said.
JetBlue, New York's Hometown Airline, encourages students to explore careers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professions, including aviation careers, from piloting the aircraft to maintaining the engines.
Original b-roll and interviews are available.
Contact JetBlue at (718) 709-3089 or firstname.lastname@example.org more information.
About JetBlue Airways
JetBlue is New York's Hometown Airline™ with other focus cities in Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles (Long Beach), San Juan and Orlando. Known for its award-winning service and free inflight entertainment as much as its low fares JetBlue offers the most legroom in coach of any U.S. airline (based on average fleet-wide seat pitch) as well as super-spacious Even More Space seats. JetBlue is also America's first and only airline to offer its own Customer Bill of Rights, with meaningful and specific compensation for customers inconvenienced by service disruptions within JetBlue's control. Visit www.jetblue.com/promise for details. TrueBlue, JetBlue's exclusive rewards program for frequent fliers, allows customers to earn points even faster with partner programs, while redeeming awards starts at just 5,000 points and $2.50 taxes/fees for one-way travel, with no black-out dates.JetBlue serves 79 cities with 700 daily flights and plans to launch service in 2013 to Worcester, Mass., Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, as well as Lima, Peru, subject to receipt of government operating authority. With JetBlue, all seats are assigned, all fares are one-way, and an overnight stay is never required. For information call 1-800-538-2583 (TTY/TDD 1-800-336-5530), or visit www.jetblue.com.
SOURCE JetBlue Airways
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