Accident Disabled Man Seeks Training Grant Or Loan To Learn To Fly
by Tony Watson
(Soldotna, Alaska, USA)
At 47 years old, I've been married, raised stepchildren, and been divorced, while supporting myself in these endeavors through a career in the oilfield.
Although I'm now divorced, my ex-wife is a good woman and I remain friends with her and the kids, who are all adults now.
In 1997, while working in the oilfield, I suffered a crushing injury to my lower back, which caused me to be off work for 5 years.
After returning to work for 7 years, my injury has debilitated me to the point that I have had 3 surgeries and am now 100 percent disabled.
Working in the oilfield was financially rewarding. At times I made as much as $32 an hour, and in one month made $16,000.
Those days are long gone, and while I do have a disability income of about $1000 a month, it is not enough to support myself or my dreams and goals.
I survive only through the help of my brother, who lets me live with him. It relieves much of my financial burden, but it puts it on him, which makes me sick at heart, and constantly depressed.
While being fully disabled, I have not given up hope on my dreams and goals. My third surgery was a double fusion that, while not fixing my problem, has at least stabilized it, and I am making plans to better my future.
I'm not sure if I will ever be able to work again, but in the hope that I can I am pursuing a degree in Occupational Safety and Health.
While I'm only in my first semester, I'm holding a 3.6 GPA and working to improve on that.
Other than SSDI I have no income and am only able to afford school through federal student aid and the Pell grant.
While pursuing OSH is my goal, it is not my dream. I want to learn to fly helicopters and pursue a career in that field. I just haven't been able to secure funding for either it or for living on my own.
I live here in Alaska with my brother and our mom. I'm thankful for this, but Texas is my home and the place that my heart misses. If I were able, that is where I would live.
What I'm looking for is a loan or grant that would allow me to move back to Texas, train to receive a pilots license, and either start an air taxi/guide service, or work for a company with similar goals.
At any rate my main goal is to get off disability and re-enter the ranks of the gainfully employed.
I would like to own and operate an air taxi/guide service in Texas, but to date haven't pursued it any further than looking into training costs for a helicopter pilots license.
As yet, I have not been able to find a way to even pay for the training, much less the costs involved in beginning a business of this type.
I have thought that maybe if I had a patron or a partner then I could accomplish all this, but don't know how to go about finding either one.
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