Special Advisory: This scholarship is postponed until further notice due to COVID-19, further information will be posted at a later date.
Colonel James L. Graham, Jr. Memorial Aviation Scholarship
He's flying SOLO!
Joe Beasley, winner of the Colonel James L. Graham, Jr. Memorial Aviation Scholarship has made his solo debut!
While it took some time for Virginia flight schools to work out the logistics of being able to offer flying lessons due to COVID-19 restrictions, Joe was able to get going on his lessons earlier this summer.
Here is Joe’s update to Mrs. Graham:
I finally soloed on Monday! It went very well, and I landed and took off three times. It was the most fun I have ever had, a little bit scary, and extremely exciting. Once again, I want to remind you of how thankful I am that you have granted me this opportunity. I am loving every second of it.
I plan on soloing two more times, and then stopping the training until a better time period.
Mrs. Graham’s note to the VABA:
I am so proud of him and very excited for him, and can hardly wait to see what he’s able to accomplish in the future. He truly has it all together.
Through this generous scholarship another Virginia young person is on their way to obtaining their pilot’s license. Special thanks to Mrs. Graham and kudos to Joe for his perseverance and dedication. The VABA is also excited about the future for Joe!
Scholarship Presentation Luncheon - March 2020
Just before the COVID-19 shut down across the Commonwealth, Mrs. Graham met with Joe and his family for a luncheon and presentation of the Colonel James L. Graham, Jr. Memorial Aviation Scholarship certificate and special gifts in Chantilly.
They spent time getting to know each other, and talking about Joe’s plans and dreams. Mrs. Graham presented Joe with one of Colonel Graham’s favorite books, an original 1942 printing of Victory Through Air Power, as well as a small model airplane Colonel Graham had made as a child. They enjoyed a cake with Congratulations, Joe! written on the top, and his framed certificate saying he'd been selected as the scholarship winner.
Joe's father is a graduate of the Air Force Academy, served as a B-1 bomber pilot, and is now retired. In addition to his parents, his older brother, Josh, his girlfriend, Christina also attended. Joe is a freshman at Virginia Tech and plans to fly for the Air Force.
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Scholarship Winner Announcement
On an airfield, Joe is pictured with his
A young Joe sitting in a cockpit (looking thrilled!). Soon he will be spending a lot of time in a cockpit.
Joe Beasley at Virginia Tech War Memorial Chapel
Congratulations to the winner of the Colonel James L. Graham, Jr. Memorial Aviation Scholarship, Joseph Beasley of Herndon, Virginia. Joe is a graduate of Herndon High School in Fairfax County and a current student at Virginia Tech. He is a member of the Corps of Cadets and Air Force ROTC, studying Aerospace Engineering.
Growing up in a large military family, Joe’s parents nurtured his curiosity of flying from an early age visiting the Air Force Academy and a number of air shows throughout his childhood. He developed a strong desire to serve his country from his father who flew the B-1 Bomber in the Air Force. In one of the reference letters received on Joe’s behalf, it was said that even at an early age, he demonstrated leadership, hard work and dedication which led to him being awarded the highest honor in the Cub Scouts, the Arrow of Light. He went on to earn the rank of Eagle Scout at the young age of 13, again demonstrating leadership, a willingness to help others and integrity. He is a well-rounded student being involved in sports, music and academics, excelling in all of his endeavors.
The VABA congratulates Joe on this outstanding accomplishment as the applicant field was very competitive with many strong candidates. Mrs. Graham looks forward to supporting Joe as he begins his flying lessons this summer in Leesburg.
About Colonel James L. Graham, Jr.
Jim was a native Virginian, born in Radford, Virginia in 1942. He graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1964, with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Science, and served the Air Force all over the world, including Vietnam, retiring in 1988. He also earned a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering from the University of Southern California. He had a distinguished career working with NASA and the Space Station, which culminated at the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization during the Reagan Administration.
Although not being able to fly for the Air Force due to color blindness, he never gave up his dream, and after many years of waiting, he got his private pilot’s license in 1998. He then purchased and owned a Tecnam Sierra with two good friends. After spending a morning flying Young Eagles at a local airport, he said his dream was to make a difference in the life of a young person, trying to instill the same love and dedication and enthusiasm he felt about airplanes and flying. Jim was a member of the AOPA and the local EAA chapter. Unfortunately, a cancer diagnosis in 2014 ended his flying career and that dream.
Jim’s wife, Ann, created the scholarship for applicants who show that same passion for flying and the ambition of obtaining a pilot’s certification, allowing them to pursue a career as a pilot. The scholarship will be paid directly to a recognized flight school or institution in the name of the awardee.