A Family Turns Tragedy Into Triumph Through ScholarshipTimothy E. Johnson Jr. Scholarship Celebration

Portrait of Nina Johnson-Milewski
Nina Johnson-Milewski
Photo credit: Gesi Schilling

Editor’s note: The Timothy E. Johnson, Jr. Scholarship annually awards scholarships to students at the MDC Eig-Watson School of Aviation, in memory of Timothy E. Johnson, Jr., an avid aviation enthusiast. Timothy’s generosity made him a dedicated pilot who devoted his free time to saving the lives of animals through the Pilots N Paws pet rescue program. In December 2012, he passed away in an aviation accident. Timothy’s family established the scholarship at MDC Foundation in 2013 in his memory. Here, Timothy’s sister, Nina Johnson-Milewski, reflects on the moment and shares her wishes for this year’s scholarship recipients.

This year’s scholarship ceremony looks quite different from those past. While we may not be gathered together, the bond between us is in many ways stronger than in years prior. As you may know, this scholarship was created to honor the memory of my brother, Timothy. As a family, we were able to band together and create positivity from tragedy, a positivity that stems from humble beginnings and, despite its modest scope, we feel this positive gesture can become infinite in its impact. We consider those of you who receive this scholarship to be part of our broader family – and community – words that mean more now than ever before. (View a video of this year’s recipients on Instagram.)

While the past several months has shown many of the holes in the fabric of our culture, I feel strongly that the people most capable of mending these holes are the hardest working, most dedicated, young members of our society. I feel that those of you receiving this scholarship today are uniquely positioned to be part of this change.

I have come to see that the greatest impact comes from within our communities. That, in fact, the greatest ideas to affect change do not come from ivy league universities and corporate board rooms. They happen in the interpersonal connections between people wanting to make change and impact each other positively.

It is our greatest hope that this scholarship will plant the seed of generosity in each of you and that you will carry that generosity forward as you move through your careers. We hope that the gift of aviation will provide you with some perspective, the unique ability to view the world from above, to see that the borders and fences between us aren’t real when viewed from a distance, and that you will use this perspective to impact our world for the greater good. Please carry this generosity forth and pass it on to those less fortunate than you during what will hopefully be a bright and limitless lifetime.

For more information about how scholarships impact our students, visit www.mdcfoundation.com