Army Veteran Turned Aviator Earns Scholarship

Following In Father’s Footsteps

Who is Jason Otrin?

From enlisting in the Army as a helicopter mechanic to becoming an intelligence officer to being a drone expert, Jason Otrin has made it full circle.

Otrin is the final recipient of the 2019 Stripes to Bar Scholarship. His goals are now in sight with some additional funding. When asked what it meas to him, he told us, “This scholarship is a big help in accelerating my training and moving me closer to the point that I can earn an income as a pilot. Starting my own business has been challenging in many ways, including financially. My first priority is taking care of my family, including a son with auto-immune challenges, so my flight training occurs when finances allow. This has been a slow process but with this scholarship I will be able to make headway much faster.”

Men and women who serve their country come back to civilian life with a world of experiences. We took the time to dig in and find out more about what meant the most to Jason in his time serving in the Army. His answer left us humbled…

Working as part of Operation Support Hope to airlift humanitarian supplies from Europe to Rwanda to help victims of the Rwandan genocide. Looking back and knowing more about what these people endured, I think this mission did the most good out of all my experiences in the service.

Jason Otrin – Westbrook, Connecticut Native

Otrin’s experiences while in the service include attaining his private pilots license. The training to become a private pilot can be a tough task to accomplish. With a head start into his journey, Otrin is looking to grow his abilities and teach others to fly. This is where the Stripes to Bars Scholarship will help aid in his journey.

“Now that I’m self-employed and running my own drone training business, I realize I love teaching and want to earn my ratings so I can teach flight students,” explained Otrin.

Oftentimes veterans aren’t sure where to start. Stripes to Bars steps in to help provide more than finances by assigning mentors. We can see Jason becoming a mentor not only within Stripes to Bars, but anywhere he lands in his travels.

We finished up our chat by asking Jason why he thinks veterans are the perfect group of people to help fill the gap we’re seeing in the aviation industry. His answer didn’t let us down…

“Veterans are not afraid of challenges and will dedicate themselves to accomplish the training. We’re used to improvising and can come up with creative ways to balance training, work and family as well as find ways to finance our aviation goals. I’m grateful to Stripes to Bars and your donors for helping veterans overcome the financial obstacles involved in earning our aviation certificates and ratings.”