Berry Field Airman receives "Make it Count" Scholarship
By Airman First Class Anthony Agosti, 118 Air Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 20, 2015
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The family of deceased Airman 1st Class Ashton Thomas donated a memorial scholarship to Airman 1st Class Christopher from the 118th Wing on Aug. 2, 2015. The scholarship is funded by the enlistment bonus, insurance money, and savings funds that belonged to Thomas which totals near $37,000.
Thomas was awaiting technical training for his career field specialty after completing basic military training while assigned to student flight at Berry Field, when he was involved in a car accident that took his young life. Thomas's parents created scholarships to provide a legacy of their son's early passing. The scholarships are to Middle Tennessee State University, the YMCA, and a one-time scholarship for a fellow Airman in the squadron for $2400. The ceremony was held to present the one-time "Make it Count" Ashton M. Thomas Memorial Scholarship to Christopher who was a fellow student flight member alongside Thomas.
"It's very surreal. I wasn't expecting the ceremony; it hits close to home, and I appreciate the legacy of Ashton Thomas," said Christopher. "I met Ashton in student flight, and I spent a few drills with him. This is a very generous gesture, to continue his legacy like this; it's a very warm gesture."
Attending the ceremony were Thomas's family, college classmates, squadron, group leadership, and the wing commander.
"The parents of Airman Thomas wanted the scholarship to go to another young Airman within the squadron who displayed the same characteristics as their son while also doing something positive", said Lt. Col. Guy of the 118th. "The scholarship went to Christopher who is a full spectrum airman, one that displays all the core values."
Patrick Thomas presented the $2400 scholarship, and Thomas's grandfather Billy Thomas presented a plaque to Christopher.
"We didn't want him to be forgotten. We want people to know he exists; he did great things and we wanted to continue his spirit," said Patrick M. Thomas. "We knew it would be someone with traits like Ashton, with loyalty and compassion; if Christopher is like Ashton, he is well-deserving."
Christopher plans to use the scholarship to pursue a criminal justice degree.