Service Takes Flight
Alum finds her calling through serving others
by Kaydee R. Gilson (’18)
Betty (Poe) Easley (’63) is passionate about flight. As a child, she moved to Clearfield, Utah, near Hill Air Force Base; and she loved watching the planes take off and land. “I was crazy about them,” Betty says. “I used to make all kinds of airplane models, and I would read books on how jet engines work.” Although Betty never wanted to be a pilot, she did find a way to pursue her passion for aviation—just many decades later.
Betty attended Westminster and majored in applied music. After she graduated in 1963, she moved to Hawthorne, Nevada, where she spent nearly 30 years as an elementary music educator in the Mineral School District; an illness forced her to retire in 1992.
What Betty didn’t realize at the time was that her best days were yet to come. She started spending time at Hawthorne Industrial Airport (KHTH), a public-use airport, where her friend owned a plane. “My real involvement began in the fall of 2007 when I noticed things I could do that would be of service to visiting pilots,” Betty says.
Eight years later, Betty has dedicated her life to KHTH. She created a hospitality suite for pilots—equipped with a stocked refrigerator, a computer, and a WiFi network. Her volunteer uniform consists of a baseball cap and a radio on her hip, which she responds to whenever a pilot flies in, day or night. Betty will not accept payment for her service, but she does accept donations for the “Pilot Donation Fund,” used to purchase equipment like a golf cart to transport pilots to and from the airport gas tanks. When pilots are ready to depart Hawthorne, Betty personally photographs them next to their planes and during takeoff. She then sends the pictures to the pilots, and they often end up in her weekly news column titled “Wings-n-Things,” dedicated to airport happenings.
“Betty is just one in a million,” exclaims pilot Curt Hunter. “I’ve been to many airports and am usually treated well, but Betty’s personal touch is my all-time favorite.”
Serving her community has always been a priority for Betty, and she’s proud to be a full-time volunteer. “I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my whole life,” she says. “When you really put your whole heart into something, it’s the greatest feeling in the world.”
Westminster has also been the recipient of Betty’s generosity: she has been a loyal donor to the college’s annual fund since she graduated more than 50 years ago. Having recently learned that she could direct her annual donation to support Westminster’s aviation program, she increased her gift in order to make a larger difference in an aviation student’s life.
You, too, can direct your annual gift to the area that’s most meaningful to you: a specific academic program, athletics, veteran and military services, or the arts. For more information, contact Lynn Koenig, director of annual giving, at 801.832.2745 or email email@example.com.
About the Westminster Review
The Westminster Review is Westminster University’s bi-annual alumni magazine that is distributed to alumni and community members. Each issue aims to keep alumni updated on campus current events and highlights the accomplishments of current students, professors, and Westminster alum.