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UPS Pilot Teaches Youth to Navigate Life
Ray Robinson

Today’s story is part of our month-long series on UPSers as Everyday Heroes.

UPS MD-11 First Officer Ray Robinson creates extraordinary aviation and life lessons for students.

This summer, I worked with the Aviation Career Education Academy (ACE) in Louisville, Ky., which is hosted by the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP). That’s where I met Ray, who serves as the academy’s volunteer director. 

Ray works with OBAP to organize two aviation academies inKentuckythat expose middle and high school students to career fields in aviation. Ray, a graduate of the Air Force Academy, is in his sixth year as Louisville’s ACE academy director. 

Students attending the camp learn about aviation history, theory of flight and other aviation-related subjects. Students have the opportunity to go on field trips to aviation facilities, like UPS’s Flight Training Center, universities and museums. They also participate in other hands-on activities, like introductory flights, designed to give students a total aviation experience.

At Bowman Field, a general aviation airport, students surrounded Ray, soaking up his enthusiasm for education and aviation and his zeal for life. They laughed and felt at ease with him.

One can easily see that Ray is more than the academy’s director; he is a role model, a coach, a teacher, a motivator and an everyday hero.

Kelan Belton, 14, was one of the students who attended the academy and looked up to Ray. Kelan, who wants to become an aviation attorney, said the academy is more than an aviation camp, he said it is “good for your soul” and gives participants the nutrients they need for life, “such as instilling the importance of passion and perseverance.”

Ray said it is important to him that today’s youth get a chance to pursue their career desires whether it is in aviation or another career field. 

“During the academy, we expose them to life skills and information that will cross career spectrums and we try to mentally prepare them for college,” Ray said. “It’s not about me. It’s about them and how to teach them how to navigate through situations along their journey.”

“As a result of Ray’s personal effort and leadership, many inner-city high school students in Louisville have been encouraged to continue their education to complete high school and continue in college or technical school,” UPS A300 Training Manager Capt. Larry Parker said.

Ray humbly said he has had parents come to him and thank him for making a difference in their child’s life and reinforcing what they are trying to teach at home.

At UPS, I am privileged to work with extraordinary people, like Ray, who devote their lives to teach and encourage youth.

This year, UPS Airlines’ Crew Recognition Committee honored five crewmembers for outstanding performance, including Ray for his service to the community.

When Ray is not volunteering, he is flying MD-11s and customer packages around the world for UPS.

Category: Caring for Communities
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