‘Dream big’ advises former student now working on Air Force One

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WATERFORD — Students at the Waterford Memorial School were told by a former student Friday that if they remember to do three things, their dreams can come true.

Frank Damon IV, an Air Force technical sergeant who now serves on the crew of Air Force One, told the students they must work hard, do their homework and be nice to succeed in school and in life.

“These things guarantee success,” said Damon, a 1998 graduate of Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, who along with his wife Michelle (Haley) Damon, a 2000 OHCHS graduate, and their two young sons, came to the school on Friday morning.

Damon said he and his family were vacationing in the area last week when he decided to take time out to come talk to the students at his old elementary school.

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“I wanted to give back to the community I grew up in,” said Damon, who began a mentoring program at a New Jersey school as part of his community service requirements while stationed there. The program, which was recognized by the state Department of Education, has since grown from a handful to more than 75 mentors.

After being promoted to technical sergeant last year at the New Jersey base, Damon, who is a veteran of Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, was also selected as one of the three officers from the base to become a crew member on Air Force One.

Although he will not fly with the president until he has two years service in as a crew member, he sees President Barak Obama along with members of the president’s family, including his dog, weekly as they board and disembark from the plane that he services as a mechanic and maintenance person.

“The president likes candy,” Damon said. He said a box of M&Ms with the presidential seal and signature is on board at all times to hand out to guests. He also often has his dog, which sheds, on boards. “His dog is super neat but super dirty,” Damon said.

Damon told the students other tidbits of information, such as it takes him three days to wax the outside of the plane, that had the youngsters listening intently for more than an hour.

“The president also likes to watch television. There’s a TV around every corner,” Damon told the students.

A fighter jet accompanies Air Force One wherever the president flies. Damon said the presidential plane is bigger than the Waterford Memorial School. It also has four engines that are so big Damon said he can walk around in one.

“It doesn’t matter what town you live in, what family you come from, as long as you do three things you’re guaranteed success,” he said.

Damon said that when he was a youngster, a man who worked on airplanes told him these three key components to success, and from then on he knew he wanted to work on planes when he grew up.

Damon said when he was approached about working for the president he had an immediate response.

“I told him it would be my honor,” Damon said.

Each student was given a photograph of Air Force One with Damon’s signature and his advice to “Dream Big” written on it.

ldixon@sunjournal.com

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