My name is Keith Minerva, aviation has been my passion for some years now. Throughout my childhood, I had an idea of what I wanted to do in life “when I grow up”. As the years went by and I began seeing the world and all that it had to offer, I came across aviation and instantly fell in love with it. Soon, my dream became an idea of reality when I no longer saw aviation as something I would do or be “when I grow up”. This moment was my coming of age, the time when I knew the direction I was going to work toward for my future.
At the age of fourteen, I knew that I wanted to be a search and rescue helicopter pilot in the United States Coast Guard. I spent the next six years working hard to become as knowledgeable as possible in the aviation field. I attended a magnet high school that matched exactly his newly found passion. At Frank H. Peterson, I earned the title of an “all-star student”. All of this is mostly due to a new friendship with Judy Rice. I could tell that Judy became very interested in my future and helped me through big decisions like making my Eagle Scout project a reality so that I could share my passion with kids and show them that aviation is cool and is really fun!
Judy approached me with her project called Think Global Flight. She took me under her wing in this project and from there I made my high school one of our student command centers. After an amazing four years involved in Think Global Flight and high school, it was time to spread my wings and reach for my dream. Like most things in life, plans don’t always go like I wanted and I couldn’t get the money to fly in the college where I currently attend.
Accepting the financial reality disappointment, I decided to pursue my plan B in air traffic control at Florida State College at Jacksonville. Since I’m already on my plan B, my new goal is
being an air traffic controller for the Federal Aviation Administration. I’ve recently been in an accident that could have taken my life and as one of the most traumatic experiences I’ve had, my perception of what my life was made of and what I could achieve was completely revolutionized. I learned that I can’t waste precious time of my life on things that won’t better my future. When I was laying on the road thinking to myself that this is how I am going to die, all I thought after that is what I haven’t done yet. Nothing I did before that day mattered anymore and it was the thought of what I wouldn’t be able to do that scared me. Life is hard, and after facing death I’ve learned that life is a journey and I can’t let anything, not body crippling injuries or plan B’s and C’s discourage me from my dreams because I know life has something great in store.
I thank everyone that has ever influenced me to do better from the bottom of my heart. If there is one person that has made my dreams reality, it’s Judy Rice. Without her guidance and encouragement, I wouldn’t know where I would be. I wish the best of luck to Judy and our team on this awesome journey!