Freedom Ball to benefit Waco aviation students while honoring active duty military, veterans
WACO, Texas (KWTX) - An annual Freedom Ball taking place this weekend to honor active-duty military, veterans and Gold Star spouses for their service and sacrifice to our nation will also benefit area college students pursuing careers in aviation and aerospace or related engineering fields.
Proceeds of the gala benefit the Greater Waco Aviation Alliance Scholarship Fund, which awards money to outstanding Region 12 and college students pursuing the specific degrees through Texas State Technical College in Waco, Baylor University or McLennan Community College.
The Freedom Ball is now a Waco Chamber event, but it was originally founded by Jim Allmon, President and CEO of Blackhawk Aerospace, and his wife, Lynette, the executive vice president at Blackhawk Aerospace.
Bob Kromer, the senior vice president for business development for Blackhawk Aerospace and an aeronautical engineer, has attended the Freedom Ball in the past.
“It’s a combination of two things,” Kromer said. “We honor the veterans, both living and past, and we also provide the scholarship fund for students who need help and ask for help and are deserving of the help.”
Annika Moser is a junior mechanical engineering student at Baylor who has received the Greater Waco Aviation Alliance Scholarship for two years.
Annika originally planned to pursue music in Boston but had a change of heart and chose engineering at Baylor.
“I hope that, in that way, it shows you can come from a completely different background and still study something like science and technology and, in that case, for me, it’s mechanical engineering,” Moser said. “Then to go on from that because of the wonderful connections I’ve made in the Greater Waco Aviation Alliance and the scholarship has helped me so much - just burden-wise.”
Moser said without the scholarship and people she’s met through the group, she may have been on a different path.
This summer she will be a test operation intern at SpaceX in McGregor.
“I don’t think I would have been able to do that if not for the scholarship and the connections I made through the Aviation Alliance,” Moser said. “I think, honestly, especially, with meeting a lot of the women that are in this field through that scholarship, it was really encouraging to me.”
Kromer said the Freedom Ball’s secondary purpose, behind honoring military memories and their families, is extremely important for our future and Annika is proof of that.
“It’s so important just beyond the local area, “Kromer said. “Think about our worldwide competitiveness as a country. The country that wins the competition is the country that knows technology and has young people starting out, understanding how to develop, design, certify and put into use new technologies. There is no greater field that needs new technology that aerospace.”
The Freedom Ball will take place Saturday at the Waco Convention Center and is sold-out.
Copyright 2022 KWTX. All rights reserved.