My family moved a few times when I was growing up. By way of Alabama, Louisiana, then back to Alabama, we landed in the suburbs of Kansas City. This is where I attended fourth grade through High School. During this time, I developed six very close friends. The seven of us had a great time; all different personalities, but we always seemed to get along famously. Before I go too much further, rest assured, I am not going to pick on anyone in this blog post…except for the blonde one I sat next to in the fourth grade - Tanner.
I remember dropping my pencil on the ground in between our desks. I bent down to retrieve it, and to my surprise, he hit me with a ruler and said, “That’s my no-fly zone.” After some diplomacy and bit of frustration, we negotiated our way out of this tense situation. He is fiercely loyal, steadfast in his beliefs, and just stubborn enough to never quit. Tanner always wanted to be a fighter pilot in the Air Force. This was no secret either, he let everyone know. As time went on, Tanner graduated college with an aviation degree, got his Master’s in aviation safety and even ran one of the airports outside of Kansas City. He has an amazing wife, Brooke, and two sweet daughters Brooklyn and Remy.
After 31 years of dreaming, applications, tests, waiting, shattered expectations, and pure determination, Tanner was accepted into the U.S. Air Force’s Fighter Pilot program (which, by the way, there was only one slot available). We were fortunate enough to have him in Alabama during the first leg of his journey, Officer’s Training School. He and one of the other six stayed at the house on his way down to training. It was a blast--I even got to spend quality time with his family at his graduation!
The purpose of this post is to spotlight a man whom I respect. He has continually proven that if you are determined and know how to follow your heart, dreams do come true. Here's to following your dreams…here's to 2nd Lieutenant Tanner Rindels! “May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.”