Steamboat Springs After two years of tests, flight training and classes, Timmy Mayhew has become the first member of Steamboat Springs Civil Air Patrol's Cadet Program to earn the Mitchell Award.
The 16-year-old sophomore at Steamboat Springs High School was honored with the Mitchell Award by achieving Second Lieutenant Cadet status, making him the most senior member in the local chapter.
The Mitchell Award is the first milestone in the Civil Air Patrol's Cadet Program, and is earned after completing eight achievements.
Mayhew also had to pass a 100-question exam on leadership theory and aerospace, and give an oral presentation.
He also attends the program's weekly two-hour meetings.
In the local chapter's four-year history, Mayhew is the first cadet to receive the distinction as a Second Lieutenant Cadet.
Mayhew said he was drawn into the program, like many others, by the allure of flying.
The cadet program has instructional classes in powered aircrafts and gliders.
Although Mayhew was attracted to the program through flying, Deputy Commander of Cadets Mike Gagnebin said it has also taught him valuable leadership and decision-making skills.
"Initially, (Mayhew) was shy, quiet and unsure of himself. Timmy has made great strides in his time here," he said.
After high school, Mayhew hopes to attend the United States Air Force Academy for special operations piloting.
He said he would start the application process next year when he is a junior.
In the meantime, Mayhew's interest in flight has spread into other areas of his schoolwork. Last year at the regional science fair, he won first place in the People's Choice and Kid's Choice category for a balsa wood airplane he designed.
"It could have been engineered for Boeing. It was that good," said Bob Del Valle, deputy commander of the local Civil Air Patrol.
The Cadet Program provides leadership opportunities to over 26,000 Americans between the ages of 12 to 20. With the direction of the Civil Air Patrol members and the Unites States Air Force, cadets receive hands-on flight time, learn about the aerospace industry and learn leadership skills.