Retired U.S. Army Capt. Ferris Butler and retired U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Adam Keys are the recipients of Lockheed Martin's inaugural Fighting Spirit Scholarship for wounded veterans.
The scholarship, presented in conjunction with the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl Dec. 23, provides wounded veterans opportunities to learn to fly and sail through programs at nonprofit organizations Able Flight and Warrior Sailing Program.
Able Flight selected Butler, a Chester, Maryland, resident who sustained severe lower leg injuries in Iraq in 2006 when struck by an improvised explosive device (IED). Butler, a double amputee, is the recipient of the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Meritorious Service Medal. After successful completion of Able Flight's six-week flight school at Purdue University's Department of Aviation Technology, Butler will earn a pilot's license and call sign, and will receive his wings at the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh airshow in July 2017.
"Lockheed Martin's support for the Able Flight program sets an important example of standing behind our military service members both in and out of uniform," Butler said. "It is very fitting that a firm that started in the aviation industry more than 100 years ago is now supporting veterans as they earn their very own pilot wings. By earning my wings, I will have an opportunity to find freedom from physical limitations as an amputee, while pursuing a new and very technical skillset."
Warrior Sailing Program selected Keys, an Annapolis, Maryland resident injured in Afghanistan in 2010 after an IED detonated near his patrol vehicle. Keys, a triple amputee, is the recipient of the Purple Heart. After successful completion of Warrior Sailing Program's Basic and Advanced Training programs, Keys earns a nationally recognized Basic Keelboat Sailing Certification.
"I am very proud and honored to be sponsored by Lockheed Martin, and I am excited to continue working with Warrior Sailing Program to complete advanced training," Keys said. "My wounds are not an obstacle to me, and Lockheed Martin and the Warrior Sailing Program are allowing me to prove it. Whatever your fight may be – just keep fighting."
"Lockheed Martin is honored to provide these heroes opportunities to take to the skies and conquer the seas," said Orlando Carvalho, Executive Vice President of Lockheed Martin's Aeronautics business. "These two recipients embody the courage and sacrifice of the men and women who serve our nation, and they represent what this scholarship and the mission of our organization is about. We look forward to honoring them at the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl."
Learn more about the stories of Capt. Ferris Butler and Staff Sgt. Adam Keys, and how you can support the veteran community: LockheedMartin.com/FightingSpirit.
About Able Flight
Founded as a nonprofit organization in 2006, Able Flight provides flight training and aviation career training scholarships for people with a variety of physical disabilities, including wounded and disabled veterans. http://ableflight.org/
About Warrior Sailing Program
Warrior Sailing Program is an official program of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Sailing Foundation and offers the organizational and technical expertise to create opportunities ranging from introductory level sailing through world sailing competition. Programming is achieved through partnerships and collaborations within the sailing community, military programs and affiliates, with funding from generous supporters. The alliance between these working relationships allows Warrior Sailing Program to stay focused on improving the lives of service members with disabilities and inspiring a new outlook for participants and the communities in which they serve. www.warriorsailing.org
About Lockheed Martin
Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 98,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.