The Chris Bedzis Memorial – RTAG Scholarship will be awarded to one person in the amount of $10,000. The intent of this scholarship is to assist in funding fixed wing flight training and expenses directly related to that training for the purpose of a United States Military veteran transitioning to a career as an airline pilot.
Chris Bedzis was a veteran Marine who dedicated his military life serving as CH-53 pilot. In 2014, after 10 years in the Corps, Chris was hired by PSA airlines allowing him to fulfill his lifelong dream of flying for the airlines. During his first few years he not only worked tirelessly as an airline pilot but also began to share his passion for aviation through recruiting.
Unfortunately, in 2016 his dream of a life in the cockpit came to an abrupt end after receiving a diagnosis of Stage 4 Synovial Sarcoma, a rare soft tissue cancer. Given the advanced stage of the disease he was given a prognosis of 12-24 months. Despite the grim outlook of the disease, Chris entered the battle of his life without fear and forged on.
During his multiple treatments and clinical trials he continued to work with PSA in the development and implementation of the Rotary Transition Program, a program which allowed Chris to give back to the community that had given him so much. In the last two and a half years Chris has not only seen this program grow from inception to a successful asset of PSA but also had the honor of representing American Airlines in the 2019 fundraiser for “Stand Up To Cancer” an organization dedicated to finding a cure.
Chris is survived by his family: wife Stephanie and his 2 children, James (1 year old) and Charlotte (Charlie, 6 years old). Chris was one of the founders of the RTP movement and a hero to those in RTAG. He helped well over 200 veterans start new careers as airline pilots. This community owes so much to Chris and we want to show our appreciation to him and his family for the untold sacrifices they’ve made to help others.
How to Apply:
All applicants should fill out the form by clicking “Scholarship Application” on this page. If for any reason an online application is impossible for you, please reach out to us via email and we will find a way to accommodate your needs.
Follow these steps to apply:
- Obtain an aviation medical certificate (1st class required)
- Obtain a copy of your DD 214 (Discharged Veterans) or ORB/ERB (Current Servicemembers)
*Please ensure social security numbers are blacked out in all supporting documents.
- Write a professional one-page résumé.
- Provide an explanation of How this scholarship will meet a need.
- Provide a detailed explanation of volunteer service outside of the military with at least one reference.
- Submit an essay with a minimum of 300 words and maximum of 500 words detailing:
- How did you become interested in aviation?
- What was your job while in the military?
- Why do you want to be an airline pilot?
- How do you plan to use the scholarship to fund your flight training?
- Submit your complete application with supporting documents online or via email at (EMAIL)
- Applicants must be currently serving, or honorably discharged Veterans, of the United States armed forces
- Applicants must obtain an aviation medical certificate (1st class required)
- Have access to a flight training facility, equipment and instructor
- Have transportation and schedule available to allow flight lessons weekly (schedule to be determined between student, equipment, and instructor availability)
- Applicant must submit a complete application with all supporting documents.
- The award determination will be made on the selection committee’s evaluation of the overall quality of the application and the scholarship essay questions.
- All submissions will have personal identifiable information removed from them prior to being reviewed by a selection panel to determine the winner. The selection panel will be comprised of the RTAG Board of Directors (Erik Sabiston, Joshua Lee, Tim Kirschbaum, and Jim McClung) as well as Stephanie Bedzis.
- All scholarships are awarded on an individual basis, as funding is available and dispersed at the discretion of the selection committee
- Funds will be paid directly to the approved flight training facility from which the applicant intends to become certified
- Scholarship selection shall be made without regard to race, national origin, sex, or disability**
* Prior criminal history will be reviewed during the process of obtaining a medical certificate
**Disabilities preventing applicants from obtaining an aviation medical certificate will be solely determined by an Aviation Medical Examiner