Civil Air Patrol cadet receives coveted award

A Wheeling Park senior is being honored for his 16 achievements in the cadet program. (WTOV)

A Civil Air Patrol cadet, a General Ira C. Eaker Award recipient and he's still in high school. Luke Knollinger's achievements were celebrated Wednesday at the Wheeling-Ohio County Airport.

It was a special night for Knollinger. The Wheeling Park senior has been a Civil Air Patrol cadet for six years and was honored at the Wheeling Composite Squadron headquarters for his hard work in the program.

He received the General Ira C. Eeaker Award for his completion of all 16 achievements in the cadet program. State Senator Ryan Weld, an Air Force captain, presented the award.

“Six years of hard work and dedication to the program and what my future goals have been. From the start I knew I wanted to join Civil Air Patrol. Before I even became a member, I knew the cadet ranks. Since then, I took off," Knollinger said.

He certainly did. When he was 12 years old, Knollinger spent his summer at boot camp, where he became a cadet. From there he went to several events and trainings at the state and national level.

Through those years, his drive and dedication were clearly visible for those who mentored him.

“When he starts an activity, when he gets an assignment, he goes through it 100 percent," said Jeff Wheeler, squadron leadership officer.

This is just the beginning for Knollinger as he looks ahead.

"I understand I'm not done. It is a small step into what my future holds, and I'm truly excited about that,” he said.

Knollinger’s next Civil Air Patrol rank is cadet colonel. When he graduates high school, he plans to attend the United States Naval Academy.

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