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New Rockford grad to fly high

AFROTC Cadet Ben Makay winner of scholarship to flight school

Submitted Photo Cadet Benjamin Makay, a 2016 New Rockford High School graduate, is in the AFROTC program at North Dakota State University. He won a scholarship that will help pay for flight training.

Benjamin Makay, a 2016 New Rockford High School graduate and a cadet in the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) at North Dakota State University, recently received a $4,500 aviation flight scholarship that he will use to pursue his private pilot’s license at a local flight school.

“I want to be a pilot in the Air Force so this will really help as far as getting a pilot slot and getting the correct training,” said Makay in a phone interview last week. “I would never have had this opportunity without the Air Force and the ROTC.”

The scholarship program is known as the “You Can Fly” program, according NDSU aerospace studies assistant professor Capt. Brady Rinke. The program is intended to encourage AFROTC cadets to gain aviation experience and further their training as an officer.

Makay earned an associate’s degree in power plant technology from Bismarck State College in 2018 and then worked for a year at the ADM Sunflower Plant in Enderlin as a boiler technician.

He started at NDSU in Fargo last fall and is pursuing a degree in natural resource management.

He will receive a commission as a second lieutenant in the Air Force when he graduates from NDSU.

Makay said he has had family members who served in the military too.

“It’s always been in the back of my mind to serve my country,” said Makay.

In a news release, Rinke said Makay competed at the national level for the scholarship and he received it due to his academic performance, physical fitness and his drive.

Rinke said in the news release that the AFROTC Detachment 610 at NDSU and UND is one of only two split detachments in the nation. It also puts a strong emphasis on pilot recruitment.

“Our goal is to interest the qualified, and find where their needs and goals intersect with what the Air Force has to offer. In Cadet Makay’s case, I think we go it right,” Rinke said.

Makay said he has set up a meeting time with a flight school in Fargo so he can begin his training.

More information on the programs at NDSU and UND and the AFROTC program in general can be found at www.AFROTC.com

(Prairie Profile is a weekly feature profiling interesting people in our region. We welcome suggestions from our readers. Call Regional Editor Eloise Ogden at 857-1944 or call 1-800-735-3229. You also can send email suggestions to eogden@minotdailynews.com.)

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