October 21, 2018

Grant Recipients

Since opening the doors in April of 2016, Stripes to Bars is proud to have awarded $27,500 in scholarships. Our efforts come from the support of communities, corporations, individuals and all those wanting to make a difference in the life of a veteran.

2019 Winners

Kenneth Morris is a Navy veteran who was born in Houston and currently resides in Denton, Texas. His time in the Navy included being part of a naval aircrew, an anti-submarine warfare systems operator and an all around great sailor who served his country.

This scholarship will allow me to help break a generational belief that people are not capable of attaining certain goals because of where they were born and their assumed status in society. Many times the barriers to entry include but are not limited to finances, exposure, accessibility and positive mentors and instructors.


Joshua Urban is an Army special forces soldier who speaks highly of his teammates and the times he gets to spend with them in some places many of us didn’t even know existed. He is Originally from St. Paul, Minnesota and currently resides in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

I believe veterans have the discipline to handle complex tasks and procedures, as well as the drive to complete the mission even in the face of extreme adversity. The military provides a strong foundation for building skills and confidence, as well as the duty to bring everyone home safe.


Emmanuel Danso served in the U.S. Army where he learned dedication, duty, honor and service. He is originally from Ghana, West Africa, where his wife and daughter still live. Emmanuel often works 16 hour days to make ends meet, not only working to help his family back home in Africa, but to fund his aviation training here in the U.S.

“Most of the veterans I know are committed and self-motivated. As a veteran, my first goal in aviation in America is a continuous service to the country. I consider myself as a keeper of prosperity and progress, which means I’ll do whatever it takes to be a pilot. I must do my part to help the country succeed.”


Ben Bashinski is an Army veteran, originally from Augusta, Georgia. He now lives with his wife in Asheville, North Carolina. While on active duty, Ben served as a communications officer in locations that included Ft. Bragg, North Carolina and Honduras.

For me, my time in the military has allowed me to experience an entirely different career for over eight years and has enabled me to figure out what I truly want to do with the rest of my life. Veterans know that to become truly great at something, it takes time, dedication, and motivation.


Jason Otrin is an Army veteran from Westbrook, Connecticut. 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.

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.


2018 Winners

Brad Branum is a father, veteran, husband and aviation enthusiast. Branum’s journey began when he decided to use his military benefits to go back to school for a degree in the aviation field. A 16-year veteran of the United States Navy and Army, Branum transitioned into the civilian sector and immediately went to work as an Electronic Engineer for Samsung but he always wanted to fly.

Goal: Instrument, Commercial, Multi-engine certificates

Bradley Littleton is an Air Force veteran, serving 20 years of faithful service to his country as a C-130 navigator, before retiring. Bradley is a husband, father of two and an Embry Riddle Aeronautical University graduate. Littleton is focusing on getting an Instrument and Commercial certificate as well. In addition to focusing on a commercial aviation career, he is also looking to use his aviation knowledge to build an experimental airplane.

Goal: Instrument, Commercial, CFI certificates

2017 Winners

Melissa Resendes has been a life-long aviation dreamer. She is a mother of two young boys, a veteran of the United States Coast Guard and a nurse in her community, caring for patients undergoing heart surgery. Melissa will have the opportunity to pursue a Private Pilot’s certificate and achieve a long held dream. After achieving her Private Pilot and Instrument rating, Melissa envisions combining her passion for healthcare with flying by providing medical care to remote populations.

Goal: Instrument, Commercial, Multi-engine certificates