Freedom Ball will benefit Waco aviation students while honoring active duty military and veterans

WACO, Texas (KWTX) – An annual Freedom Ball taking place this weekend to honor active duty military, veterans and Gold Star spouses for their service and sacrifice to our nation will also benefit area students pursuing careers in the aviation and aerospace or related engineering fields.

Proceeds from the gala benefit the Greater Waco Aviation Alliance Scholarship Fund, which awards money to outstanding students in Region 12 and colleges pursuing specific degrees through Texas State Technical College in Waco , Baylor University or McLennan Community College.

The Freedom Ball is now a Waco Chamber event, but was originally founded by Jim Allmon, President and CEO of Blackhawk Aerospace, and his wife, Lynette, Executive Vice President of Blackhawk Aerospace.

Bob Kromer, senior vice president of business development for Blackhawk Aerospace and an aeronautical engineer, has previously attended the Freedom Ball.

“It’s a combination of two things,” Kromer said. “We honor veterans, living and past, and we also provide the scholarship fund to students who need help and ask for help and who deserve help.”

Annika Moser is a junior mechanical engineering student at Baylor who received the Greater Waco Aviation Alliance Scholarship for two years.

Annika originally planned to pursue music in Boston, but changed her mind and chose engineering at Baylor.

Annika Moser is a junior mechanical engineering student at Baylor who received the Greater Waco Aviation Alliance Scholarship for two years.(Courtesy photos)

“I hope that in this way it shows that you can come from a completely different background and still study something like science and technology and in this case for me it’s mechanical engineering” , said Moser. “Then to continue because of the wonderful relationships I’ve made in the Greater Waco Aviation Alliance and the scholarship has helped me a lot – just in terms of the burden.”

Moser said that if not for the scholarship and the people she met through the group, she might have taken a different path.

This summer, she will be a test operation intern at SpaceX at McGregor.

“I don’t think I would have been able to do this without the scholarship and the connections I made through the Aviation Alliance,” Moser said. “I think, honestly, especially, having met a lot of women who are in this field through this scholarship, it was really encouraging for me.”

Kromer said the secondary goal of the Freedom Ball, behind honoring the memory of service members and their families, is extremely important to our future and Annika is proof of that.

“It’s so important just beyond the local area,” Kromer said. “Think about our global competitiveness as a country. The country that wins the competition is the country that knows the technology and has young beginners, understanding how to develop, design, certify and implement new technologies. There is no bigger field that needs new technologies than aerospace.

The Freedom Ball takes place Saturday at the Waco Convention Center and is sold out.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the Greater Waco Aviation Alliance Scholarship Fund.

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