May 29, 2017
School & Youth
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  • Jeanette Marie Middleton-Sudano, pictured with a photo of her son, Nathan, presented one of two Airman First Class Nathaniel H. McDavitt Memorial scholarships to Severna Park High School senior Robert Jackson (right).
    Judy Tacyn
    Jeanette Marie Middleton-Sudano, pictured with a photo of her son, Nathan, presented one of two Airman First Class Nathaniel H. McDavitt Memorial scholarships to Severna Park High School senior Robert Jackson (right).

Robert Jackson Awarded Inaugural McDavitt Memorial Scholarship

Judy Tacyn
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May 3, 2017

“I am very honored to have earned this scholarship,” said Robert Jackson, Severna Park High School, class of 2017. “[Seniors] apply for many scholarships, but to know the story behind this particular one is especially inspiring and humbling.”

Nathaniel McDavitt, a 2011 graduate of Severna Park High School, enlisted in the United States Air Force in 2014 with the goal to be a crew chief responsible for maintaining fighter jets. He became known as Airman 1st Class Nathaniel H. McDavitt, an F-16 Fighting Falcon tactical aircraft maintainer with the 52nd Equipment Maintenance Squadron.

Stationed in Germany, McDavitt deployed to the Middle East on April 9, 2016. The following day, he was working in a building when a severe wind storm caused it to collapse. He was immediately transported to a hospital but succumbed to his injuries on April 15, 2016, with his mother, father and wife by his side.

McDavitt’s mother, Jeanette Marie Middleton-Sudano, said that her son lived every day to the fullest. Over the past year, her family has been consoled by the many stories that have been recounted about McDavitt’s “all in” service and commitment to his country, community, family, friends and fellow airmen.

Last month, just days before the anniversary of her son’s tragic death, Sudano, along with the board of directors of the A1C Nathaniel H. McDavitt Memorial Scholarship Fund, announced the first two recipients of the Airman First Class Nathaniel H. McDavitt Memorial Scholarship Award, presented to a graduating high school senior who has demonstrated exemplary qualities of character, drive and service — qualities that defined the very essence of her late son. The recipients are Severna Park’s Robert Jackson, and Riely Wernberg of LaPlata, Maryland.

“Nate was always helping someone. We wanted to recognize another young person who worked hard to contribute to their community and to be an advocate for people in need,” said Sudano. “Robert was a perfect fit because he has a very impressive history of service, and I truly believe he does it because he understands that when we have more, we need to give more.”

Robert, the son of Burt and Nancy Jackson, said his family has always been very involved in the Severna Park community. “I think my parents ingrained service into my personality,” said Robert. “Service and giving back is just part of my life. If someone needs help, we help. That’s just the way it is.”

Among his service activities, Robert is an active volunteer with Giving Back, Linda’s Legacy; Hope for All; and through his faith community at Woods Memorial Church.

Robert will attend the University of South Carolina in the fall, joining his brother, Ben, who is currently a junior. He will study sports entertainment and management, with the hope of traveling the world.

“I am very grateful to have received this scholarship,” said Robert. While he noted the financial assistance is helpful, it’s overwhelming to be recognized for exhibiting some of the same qualities as the young man for whom the scholarship was named. “To be even considered for a scholarship in memory of someone like Nathan leaves me truly speechless,” he said.

To learn more about McDavitt and the memorial scholarship, visit www.iamnathan.org.


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