Hero’s Dream Carried on by Scholarships
MARLTON, NJ, May 1, 2002—The LeRoy W. Homer Jr. Foundation will honor the memory of the September 11th hero through yearly aviation scholarships. LeRoy Homer was the first officer on United Flight 93, which tragically crashed in Shanksville, PA on September 11, 2001.
The Foundation will honor LeRoy’s love of flying by encouraging and financially supporting young men and women with an interest in aviation. The scholarships will allow recipients to pursue professional flight instruction leading to certification as private pilots.
“LeRoy was someone who truly loved being a pilot,” says Melodie Homer, president of the Foundation and LeRoy’s wife. “He never tired of talking to people and answering questions about flying. He was respected and admired by fellow pilots and crewmembers alike.”
LeRoy was a first officer for United Airlines flying B757/767 out of New York. He joined the company in 1995 as a second officer on the B727. On September 11, 2001, LeRoy was flying with Captain Jason Dahl on flight 93. Based on information from several sources that day, LeRoy and Jason were the first to fight against the terrorist threat to the airplane. LeRoy left behind his wife, Melodie and baby daughter, Laurel.
The family has launched the Foundation to maintain LeRoy’s dream of flying. “September 11th was not the end; it is a new beginning,” says Cheryl Homer Wilson, executive director of the Foundation and LeRoy’s sister.
LeRoy dreamed of flying at a young age. As a child, he assembled model airplanes and collected aviation memorabilia. His passion for flying took off at 15 when he started flight instruction on a Cessna 152. He completed his first solo flight by age 16, and later obtained his private pilot’s certification.
LeRoy graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1987. As an Air Force Captain, LeRoy flew C-141 Starlifter for McGuire AFB in New Jersey. While on active duty, he served in Desert Shield and Desert Storm and later supported operations in Somalia. He received many commendations, awards and medals during his military career.
He was honorably discharged from the Air Force in 1995, but he continued his military career as a reservist—initially as an instructor pilot with the 356th Airlift Squadron at Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio, and subsequently as an Academy Liaison Officer, recruiting potential candidates for both the Air Force Academy and the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps. During his time with the reserves, he achieved the rank of Major.
The Foundation will raise scholarship funds with a kick-off gala in the fall, and through private donations and corporate sponsorship. Up to three scholarships will be awarded each year. “LeRoy was very modest about his accomplishments,” says Melodie Homer. “However, he would be proud to know he will continue to inspire others. LeRoy is no longer with us, however his legacy lives on through the efforts of the LeRoy W. Homer Jr. Foundation.”
For more information contact Cheryl Homer Wilson, executive director LeRoy W. Homer Jr. Foundation: (800) 388-1647.