Remarks from SOWF College Graduate
Monday, November 19, 2012
Posted by: Edie Rosenthal
Below is a speech from one of our SOWF college scholarship, Logan Fitzpatrick, who spoke at the Isla Del Sol Golf Tournament in St. Petersburg, FL in October. In the photo below (left to right) Steve McLeary, SOWF Executive Director; Dick Crippen; Logan Fitzpatrick; and Steve Riordan.
My name is Logan Fitzpatrick. I was born in Weisbaden, Germany in 1987 to Emily and Chuck Cooper. After a year of being stationed in Germany we moved as my father, Captain Charles Cooper was assigned to the 160th special operations aviation regiment known as the "Night Stalkers" in October of 1989. He served as 2nd flight platoon leader of Charlie Company, 1st battalion.
While stationed at Ft. Campbell Kentucky he was deployed many times, and in October 1990 he and the 1st battalion were deployed to the desert to fly special operations missions against the Iraqi regime. On February 21st, 1991 while serving as alternate air mission commander of a Blackhawk helicopter during Operation Desert Storm in Southwest Asia. He responded to a request for an urgent medical evacuation deep in enemy territory under zero illumination. He and the crew flew their aircraft at an extremely low altitude to evade the enemy air defense artillery threat. In spite of dense fog which made his night vision equipment useless, he continued his mission. By relying on experience and navigational instruments, he and his team were able to extract the badly wounded soldier. While returning to the medical facility, he encountered a sandstorm and lost visual reference with the ground. Their aircraft, #251, crashed and he selflessly gave his life for his country.
He was awarded the Silver Star and Distinguished Flying Cross for his extraordinary heroism on that day. He was survived by myself, my mother, and my sister Clare Fitzpatrick who is also a beneficiary of the SOWF scholarship. Growing up without a father was difficult -- I was 3 and my sister, 2.
My mother was a stay at home mom at the time, and we were living off base near Ft. Campbell Kentucky. I was just a young kid trying to grow up and enjoy life when suddenly everything changed. The rest of my childhood was not typical by any means as I remember more sad nights than happy ones. Life became uncertain and at a young age it seemed that any chance at normalcy was gone. It was hard seeing my mother sad all the time but there were glimmers of hope, support from the special operations community and the Special Operations Warrior Foundation were there.
As children we were contacted by the SOWF and they were able help us get through our difficult time, as well as introduce us to other children and families going through similar situations. As time went on, I grew up receiving birthday cards every year from them as we'll as help whenever I needed it. Finally when I started getting close to graduating high school the SOWF entered my life again. I met amazing people like Mr. Steve McLeary and Mrs. Edie Rosenthal that let me know that because of my father’s sacrifice, the foundation once again wanted to help. They told me that my father would have wanted me to go to school and the foundation wanted to give me that gift of education.
After graduating high school I attended George Mason University majoring in global affairs. My major was very interesting as I was able to study many subjects from foreign economic policies to terrorism, and throughout my years of schooling the SOWF was there every step of the way. I can't count the number of times I spoke with people from the up for classes, I will never be able to thank you all enough.
And going to school right outside DC was also nice as I was able to attend similar functions and meet a lot of you, the donors. You are all the reason this happens and your amazing gifts have helped me, and so many people like me. If it wasn't for people like you and the Special Operations Warrior Foundation the financial enormity of college may be out of reach for many families like my own.
I just wanted to say thank you all so much for everything you do and to please keep doing it. Thank you