Raytheon plus SPC Veteran Students equals Ride 2 Recovery

What do Raytheon and four student veterans working in a cycling center have in common?  They are all linked to St Petersburg College, the Veterans Administration and Ride 2 Recovery (a national non-profit dedicated to the recovery and rehabilitation of injured veterans through cycling).

In 2016, Raytheon funded a grant to help establish a cycling center at St Petersburg College’s (SPC) Clearwater campus to help students and veterans in the community.  The center was provided bicycles by the VA and was partially staffed by an employee of Ride 2 Recovery. 

As the center became more popular and demand increased, it became clear that the operating hours of the center needed to expand.  This is where Raytheon, one of its employees (Kelly McDonald) and a Raytheon retiree (Mitch Lee) came to the rescue.  All three contributed financially to fund a scholarship for three student veterans to work in the center while continuing their pursuit of a college degree.  Additionally, SPC funded another student veteran.

The result was a cycling center open six days a week, including three nights and Saturday mornings.  The center is located in Building SS, Room 105 on SPC’s Clearwater campus.

The Raytheon employee and retiree believed so strongly in this cause that they contributed their own funds to support the scholarship – a creative solution that linked Raytheon, the college and four student veterans together.  This novel approach is now available to any Raytheon employee wishing to help.  The SPC scholarship is an approved donation option for employees.  It is also matched by Raytheon funding.  Non-Raytheon donors can also give to this scholarship fund by contacting Frances Neu of the SPC Foundation.

So who are these student veterans?  Meet Andrew, Will, Taylor and John (shown below – also shown is Kelly McDonald of Raytheon. All four student veterans are pursuing bachelor degrees. Check out their bios below.  Want to meet these hard working student veterans?  Simple.  Just stop by the cycling center at SPC (Clearwater Campus).  While there, check out the bikes and services offered by the center to all students.

Andrew Bang: A Coast Guard veteran of 10 years.  Served as a helicopter technician.  Also tutors high school students 12 hours a week, in addition to maintaining a 3.5 GPA at SPC in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

John Danczyk: An Army veteran of 9 years.  Served in the Air Defense Branch of the US Army.   Worked with Raytheon while serving with a Theater Area Air Defense (THAAD) battery.  Still serves as an active member of the Army National Guard while maintaining a 3.0 GPA in pursuit of a bachelors degree in sustainability. 

Taylor Remmington: A Navy veteran of 5 years.  Served as an engineering technician on board a nuclear submarine, USS Charlotte (SSN766). Performed and supervised navigation, electromechanical, sensing and alarming electronics systems maintenance.  Was awarded the Navy Achievement medal.  Maintains a 3.7 GPA while pursuing a bachelors degree in mechanical engineering.

William Curley: A Navy veteran of 24 years.  Last served as a Chief Petty Officer on board the USS New York, an amphibious landing assault ship for helicopters, in charge of all aviation fuels.  Maintains a 3.1 GPA while pursuing a bachelors degree in education.  Works 20 hours in the cycling center.

Left to right: Jeff Cavanagh (Veteran Services), Taylor Remmington, William Curley, Kelly McDonald, Mitch Lee and Andrew Bang.

 

About Jeff Cavanagh

Jeff Cavanagh spent his freshman year at St. Petersburg Junior College back in the early 70s before enlisting in the United States Navy. Soon after, he attended Jacksonville University on a Navy ROTC scholarship. After college, he was commissioned and became a qualified Surface Warfare Officer spending the next 22 years honing his skills as a ship-handler and expert recruiter before retiring in 1994. Jeff expresses a deep sense of pride in St. Petersburg College due to connections that go back many years. His father, Tom Cavanagh, was a career Air Force fighter pilot and combat veteran who taught Geography and Western Civilization at St. Petersburg Junior College in the 60’s and 70’s.

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