Hammond named Public Affairs Officer of the Year.
By Jodi Henline, editor for Gunnison Gazette
When Robert Hammond completed his Eagle Scout in 2013, he began looking for something else to do. He was still four years from graduating high school, and wanted to pursue more. His interest in aviation led him to the Sevier Valley Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol. According to TeriLee Hammond, Robert’s mother, Robert joined and quickly excelled.
As the official civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force, the Civil Air Patrol is a military-style program aimed at educating youth in aerospace and aiding in emergency services and similar operations. Through his four years in the program, Robert has earned the Billy Mitchell award making him a Cadet 2nd Lieutenant and was chosen as the cadet commander for the local squadron where he has gained valuable leadership skills. TeriLee said those skills have opened doors in his college selection process. He has chosen to continue his education in the aviation field and has been accepted to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona with the Presidential Scholarhsip, as well as three Universities here in Utah. Robert is even on track to get his pilot’s license by the time he graduates from high school in a few short months. He spends a lot of his weekends logging flight hours in a Cessna 172 out of the South Valley Airport in West Jordan thanks to the Civil Air Patrol program.
“It reminds you of the scout program,” TeriLee said, “but it specializes in aerospace and the STEM program. It’s a great program for youth and even their parents to get involved in.”
It didn’t take too long until TeriLee became involved in the Civil Air Patrol as well. Before Robert was old enough to drive, TeriLee would take him to Richfield for his meetings. She was soon told the squadron could use her help as a senior member. She agreed to join. It wasn’t long after that, she volunteered to take a group of cadets to a rocketry FTX event in Wendover.
“I got to know one of the senior members that helped run the FTX and she talked me to going to encampment to help out. They put me in as the public affairs officer for encampment after just being in the program for three months. I kept the social media pages updated and produced a morning newsletter as well as the yearbook, which was a little overwhelming my first year but I had so much fun I went back last year and plan on attending again this year.”
As a public affairs officer, TeriLee said she has followed cadets to encampment, multiple FTX’s (field training exercise) as well as documenting two trip to Canada for the veterans HART ceremony.
“I take pictures of the event,” she said. “I keep the social media updated and write articles for the Utah Wing CAP magazine ‘Wingspan’.”
Just like her son Robert, TeriLee has excelled in the Civil Air Patrol program. She was recently named the Public Affairs Officer of the Year for the Utah Wing. She was at a leadership meeting when she was called up by the Wing Commander. She didn’t know she was about to receive the honor. “I was really surprised I was chosen,” she said, “because I’m still new at it.”
TeriLee is happy for the leadership her son has gotten through the program and the friends he has made all over the state and across the nation. “Civil Air Patrol is a unique opportunity for our youth and even us older volunteers to meet new people, get out of our comfort zones, become better citizens and learn new things.” she said.