Cajun’s Aviation Dream, a nonprofit group set up in honor of Maj. Stephen “Cajun” Del Bagno, is selling commemorative coins, stickers and other memorabilia to raise funds to support young aviators and carry on his legacy.
The USAF Thunderbird #4 pilot perished in a routine training mission on April 4, 2018.
All of the proceeds from memorabilia sales will support our scholarship program as well as the installation of a Redbird Velocity Flight Simulator (also equipped with an F-35 and F-16 sim) at the EAA’s Advanced Air Academy Camp that all of the kids will have access to.
A fundraiser hike scheduled for April 4 at the Placerita Nature Center has been canceled, but local residents may still support the organization virtually by walking anywhere (even if it’s laps around the house) throughout the month of April. Register at www.cajunsaviationdream.org/fundraiser, go for your hike and fill out the hike completion form when you are finished.
“We want to continue Maj. Stephen ‘Cajun’ Del Bagno’s legacy by assisting young American’s pursuit of their dreams of flying. We will receive and administer donations to award scholarships that help inspire future pilots and assist current pilots pursue their aviation goals.
“Cajun was in a bigger than life position and used his platform to inspire everyone to follow their dreams. He always stressed his 4 Ps to Prosperity: find your passion, which will give you Purpose, be Persistent in your pursuit and be Personable; Humble, Credible and Approachable. He found a passion and absolutely lived for aviation! If he could fly it or put wings on something, he would try to fly it.
“He was able to fulfill his ultimate dream of flying for one of the world’s most prestigious flight demonstration squadrons with hard work, dedication and support.
“There is a pilot shortage and a strong need for passionate and dedicated Aviators. Cajun’s Aviation Dream Incorporated will continue his legacy by issuing scholarships to inspiring future pilots with incentive flights and supporting aviation-related programs as well as assisting current pilots in pursuing their aviation goals.
“We will accept donations and host fundraisers in the future to carry out this mission. Our ultimate goal as an organization is to continue Maj. Stephen “Cajun” Del Bagno’s mission of recruiting, retaining and inspiring future generations of aviators.
“In his 34 years, he mastered the art of persistence, embodied being a ‘good dude,’ took pride in giving back to his community and stayed humble in his pursuit for excellence. He is missed beyond measure and this foundation will continue Stephen’s legacy and allow his family to help stellar young Americans chase their own dreams to fly and pursue their passion for aviation.”
Maj. Stephen Del Bagno, Thunderbird 4/Slot Pilot, preforms preflight checks in his F-16 Fighting Falcon at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Jan. 26, 2018. Del Bagno was killed when his aircraft crashed on the Nevada Test and Training Range during a practice aerial demonstration on April 4, 2018. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Christopher Boitz.)
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