By Judy Tacyn
Although they never met, Logan Smith believes his likeness to Nathan McDavitt helped him become one of three 2019 recipients of the third annual Airman First Class Nathaniel H. McDavitt Memorial Scholarship Award.
“I found Nathan’s scholarship through Northeast’s webpage,” Logan said. “Our interests seemed to blend together, so I was happy to apply for the scholarship.”
Nathaniel McDavitt, a 2011 graduate of Severna Park High School, enlisted in the United States Air Force in 2014 with the goal to be a crew chief responsible for maintaining fighter jets. He became known as Airman 1st Class Nathaniel H. McDavitt, an F-16 Fighting Falcon tactical aircraft maintainer with the 52nd Equipment Maintenance Squadron.
Stationed in Germany, McDavitt deployed to the Middle East on April 9, 2016. The following day, he was working in a building when a severe windstorm caused it to collapse. He was immediately transported to a hospital but succumbed to his injuries on April 15, 2016, with his mother, father and wife by his side.
McDavitt’s mother, Jeanette Middleton-Sudano, established the A1C Nathaniel H. McDavitt Memorial Scholarship Fund shortly after his death. The Airman First Class Nathaniel H. McDavitt Memorial Scholarship Award was then created to provide financial assistance to graduating high school seniors who have demonstrated the exemplary qualities of character, drive and service — qualities that defined the essence of Middleton-Sudano’s son.
“Nate was always helping someone. We want to recognize other young people who work hard to contribute to their community and to be an advocate for people in need,” Middleton-Sudano said.
John Smith, a longtime scout and venture leader, has known both Logan and Nathan.
“Having the pleasure of knowing both boys, I feel Logan is very deserving of this scholarship,” John said. “Like Nathan, Logan earned his Eagle Scout rank. He has always been very helpful and puts others before himself on scouting events. He enjoys teaching the younger scouts and is always respectful to adults.”
Although Logan and McDavitt never met, their paths could have crossed in scouting, as Logan knows Nathan’s troop leaders and some of the young men in Nathan’s troop.
“Logan is a great kid and has always had a genuine spirit to help people, even at a very young age,” said Amanda Smith, Logan’s mom. “Through scouts, church and participating in the Orchard Beach Volunteer Fire cadet program, he’s had opportunities to learn about his community and serve. God has presented Logan with some of the best mentors a kid could have, which Logan has learned many skills, values, and life responsibilities to live by.”
Amanda Smith considers John Smith one of Logan’s best mentors. “All young men face challenges in life, and rather than let those challenges win, both Nathan and Logan faced their challenges head on and turned them into positive experiences,” John said. “Nathan was always active in providing service to his community, whether helping with disaster relief and feeding the homeless, or serving our nation in the Air Force.
“Similarly, Logan has performed countless hours of active service in scouting and the community as a Cub Scout den chief, helping instruct archery at Cub Scout day camp, teaching new scouts as a junior assistant scoutmaster and representing his venture crew at events proudly carrying the American flag and promoting character development,” John continued. “Logan, too, helps feed the homeless in our community. Their similarities in character, drive and service made Logan a wonderful recipient to be recognized in Nathan’s honor.”
Logan visited McDavitt’s grave on Memorial Day. There, he told McDavitt how honored he was to have earned this award in the scout and soldier’s memory.
“I told him I wish I could have met him,” said Logan, “because I feel we could have been good friends.”
Sudano, too, saw the similarities between her son and Logan.
“We are confident Logan will continue to honor Nathan’s legacy of character, drive and service like Nathan, for Nathan, but in his own way in all his endeavors,” added Middleton-Sudano. “We are so proud to honor him with this award.”
Logan will study environmental science at Anne Arundel Community College. He would like to pursue a career either as a park ranger or within the Department of National Resources.
To learn more about McDavitt and the memorial scholarship, visit www.iamnathan.org.