MSU VISION WORK
Mississippi State University’s Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision will be reviewed by Center Director Brenda Cavenaugh.
CHANGING OF THE GUARD
Next week, President Martha will reiterate this year’s theme, The Future of Rotary is in Your Hands,” to incoming President Tommy as she passes the gavel to him.
Invocation and Pledge: Carey Hardin
Attendance: There were 106 members (35 exempt, 1 honorary) present and 83 (16 exempt, 11 honorary) absent.
Guests and visitors: Visiting Rotarian was Brent Melton of the Downtown Jackson Club. Members’ guests were John McWhorter and Robert Moorhead of Joe Thompson, Rocky Katz of Larry Mullins, and John Forde of Ned Browning. Guests of the Club were Angie Bryant, Brook Bryant, Joseph Jones, Paul Sims, Starkville Daily News, and RYE student Kasper Eriksen.
Makeups: Bill Foster at Rankin County, and Mike Hainsey at West Point.
Kudos: President Martha noted that Keith and Ruth Remy represented the Club at the District Governors’ transition ceremony. They accepted the youth program award named for them and bestowed on our club for the district’s best youth affairs program. Beyond extensive support of academics, sports and youth organizations, our Rotary Youth Exchange and Interact Club distinguish us.
Rotarian Nancy Hargrove, Starkville Reads president, accepted a support check for the literacy community service project. She noted that the program is working with the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II. The group also is partnered with the MSU Maroon Edition reading project featuring the best-selling “Three Cups of Tea” whose author will speak on campus on Sept. 23.
EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION
Two more of our four annual $1,000 Excellence in Education scholarships were presented to Brook Bryant and Joseph Jones.
Frank Chiles, scholarship committee chair said, “Today we’re giving higher education seed money that will change some lives.”
Bryant, a Starkville Academy graduate with a 3.71 grade point average, plans to major in biological sciences with the career goal of dentistry. Jones, a Starkville High School Senior of Distinction with a 3.89 GPA, also plans to major in biological sciences with aspirations to be a medical doctor.
The awards go to incoming Mississippi State University freshmen from Oktibbeha County schools. The Club does not select the recipients. They are identified by the MSU admissions office based on need and a quality-point-average above three.
The time to say good bye to Kasper draws near. His family will join us for his last meeting next week.
PROPOSED NEW MEMBERS
The board has approved the classification committee’s recommendation of two proposed members:
- John Forde, head of MSU’s Department of Communications, is classified as Education-Communications, and sponsored by Ned Browning.
- Thomas Walker, retired from the U.S. Department of Defense, is classified as Business-Consulting, and sponsored by Steve Langston.
WANDERING THROUGH THE WILD BLUE YONDER AND HISTORY
In a career revolving around flight, Starkville native Tom Edwards (Rotarian Charlotte Coker’s brother) has “wandered” through the last half century of American aerospace development.
From helicopters in Vietnam to NASA space flight training to the Strategic Defense Initiative, the son of an MSU professor returned home to complete his career at his alma mater. He dubbed his experience as “wandering” because of the non-linear route it took.
His career took off with early civilian training at Camp’s Airport where many locals earned their pilot’s licenses. He followed that with an aerospace engineering degree and commission as a 2nd lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Edwards got a delay in reporting to active duty while earning a masters degree.
“I almost finished a PhD,” he said. “But, Vietnam was getting a little hot about 1968, so I headed to flight school.” (The doctorate was finally completed at Illinois.)
Following initial fixed wing aircraft training, especially the Mohawk, he was sent to helicopter school. Then the Army “turned over its hold card.”
The service wanted him to gain combat experience followed by the Naval Test Pilot School to groom him for the astronaut program. With his advanced degrees he would be one of the first Army candidates.
In one span of time during his Southeast Asian adventures, he flew up to 140 hours per month. “I’d strap on a helicopter at sunup and keep it until sundown,” he said
After his stint at test pilot school, he headed for the Johnson Space Center’s Orbiter Project (1973–1976). As an aerospace technologist, with the Space Shuttle Orbiter Systems Engineering and Integration program, he specialized in aerodynamics, reentry guidance and flight control systems.
His next stop was at NASA’s Langley Flight Research Center (1976–1979). As a NASA/Army experimental test pilot, he flew a Sundowner with a wingtip rocket system in the Spin Test program. He also flew one of the first fly-by-wire (electronically controlled) CH-47B helicopters in the Vertical Approach and Landing Technology (VALT) program.
When the astronaut selection program reopened in 1977, he was a finalist in the ninth group of 20, but did not make the final cut.
As he put it, his next route was “back to the real Army” with the command of an aviation company in Korea (1980–1981).
From 1981 through 1985, Edwards served in the Pentagon as the Department of the Army System Coordinator for scout helicopters and special operations aircraft.
On the heels of that assignment, he served at the Army Strategic Defense Command Headquarters in the Strategic Defense Initiative Years (1986 –1988).
Following a seven-year assignment with NASA as the Grumman Space Station Integration programs principal engineer and project leader, he helped found the Decisive Analytics Corporation.
In 2002, he returned home for his “fourth career” to teach and conduct research in MSU’s Aerospace Engineering program.