Soaring and sailing are in the future for two wounded U.S. Army veterans, with each one recently having secured a 2017 Lockheed Martin Fighting Spirit Scholarship to enable their participation in flying and sailing programs.
Staff Sgt. Robert Bartlett and Staff Sgt. Jay Fondren, both of whom served in Iraq, expressed gratitude for the opportunity. Bartlett will obtain his pilot’s license, and Fondren will claim basic keelboat sailing certification following respective training.
"Words could never express my gratitude for the actions that Lockheed Martin has taken to help me and my family," Bartlett said. "The Fighting Spirit Scholarship means hope for a better future for me and always being able to provide for all my family's needs. This scholarship will change my life forever and give me a chance at a new life beyond my wounds."
Fondren became a triple amputee in 2004 following an explosion, while Bartlett was wounded in 2005, losing one eye and sustaining facial and hand injuries due to a separate explosion incident.
"I feel greatly honored to receive the Fighting Spirit Scholarship," Fondren said. "I hope my example in life will motivate other wounded veterans to live life to the fullest. You can't let your disability keep you from doing what you want to do. You have to find a way to overcome it or get around it, especially when it comes to doing things with your family."
Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin collaborated with nonprofit groups Warrior Sailing Program and Able Flight to allocate training support.