Hometown Heroes fly with Blue Angels

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Alexander Merchak
  • 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Officer Sean Kelly and Jamie Butler were selected as ‘Hometown Heroes’ and flew back seat with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels March 12.

A Hometown Hero is described as someone who helps shape attitudes and opinions of youth in their communities. Kelly, a city of Vacaville police and school resource officer at Will C. Wood High School, and Butler, an American Canyon High School music teacher and choir director, exemplified these traits through their contributions to society.

“It’s absolutely incredible to be here and around a person (Blue Angel) who is the best in the world at what they do,” said Butler.

During his 23 years of teaching, Butler has taught approximately 4,000 students and raised $81,000 in donations that benefited 175 of those students with scholarships.

According to Butler, becoming a mentor requires focusing on the development of personal connections.

“Whether it is a youth, peer or friend, what we do on this earth is connect,” said Butler.

Upon arrival, the Hometown Heroes were briefed and suited up before taking to the skies. In the brief, Butler and Kelly learned the “hook” breathing method in preparation for the flight. This technique is a quick inhale while starting to say the word hook, hold for 2 – 3 seconds and exhale finishing the word with emphasis on the letter k.

“This is a cool opportunity... a once in a lifetime opportunity that I am excited for,” said Kelly.

With seven years of experience in law enforcement and three of those years spent as a school resource officer responsible for the safety of 1,700 students, Kelly has dedicated personal time leading local youth by coaching sports, developing crisis programs and providing mentorship.

For anyone interested in becoming a mentor, Kelly recommends finding something you are passionate in and to also be there for the people around you.

During the flight, Hometown Heroes experienced various aerial maneuvers with U.S. Navy Lt. Connor O’Donnell, Blue Angels #7 pilot and narrator, in an F/A-18F Super Hornet. Both Kelly and Butler enjoyed the experience and described it as awesome.

For a chance to see the Blue Angels perform, they are scheduled to headline Travis AFB’s Wings Over Solano air show and open house March 16 – 17.