Chris Bedzis Memorial – RTAG Scholarship
The 2021 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 or current Servicemember transitioning to a career as an airline pilot.
Chris Bedzis was a veteran Marine who dedicated his military life serving as a 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 that allowed Chris to give back to the community that had given him so much. In his last two and a half years, Chris not only saw this program grow from inception to a successful asset of PSA but also had the honor of representing American Airlines in the 2019 fundraiser “Stand Up To Cancer”, an organization dedicated to finding a cure.
Chris is survived by his family: wife Stephanie and his 2 children, James (2 years old) and Charlotte (Charlie, 6 years old). Chris was one of the founders of the RTP movement and is 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.
Chris Bedzis – RTAG Scholarship
Scholarship applications will be accepted from August 1 - October 1, 2021
How 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 removed or blacked out on all supporting documents.
- Write a professional one-page résumé.
- Provide an explanation of financial need.
- Provide a detailed explanation of volunteer service outside of the military with at least one reference.
- Submit an essay with (minimum of 300 words, 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 at the following link:
- Must be currently serving or honorably discharged Veterans of the United States armed forces
- Must obtain an aviation medical certificate (1st class required)
- Have access to a flight training facility, equipment, and an instructor
- Have transportation and availability to allow flight lessons weekly (schedule to be determined based upon the 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 responses.
- All submissions will have personally identifiable information removed prior to review 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