The McCreary County Record

Local News

February 25, 2009

Aviation Pioneer’s Family Found

Spring ceremony will honor Pine Knot’s Edward Ward

WHITLEY CITY—Last month The McCreary County Record published an article seeking relatives of Pine Knot native Edward Ward (1881-1965), who is being honored as the first enlisted airman.

Last Thursday, members of the McCreary County Historical and Genealogical Society facili-tated a meeting between Ward’s local relatives — niece Jean Blevins, nephew Bill J. Stephens and his daughter, Jean Jeffers — and CW5 Mark Grapin, Ph.D., Senior Aviation Safety Officer with the Kentucky National Guard.

Dr. Grapin is a member of the Frankfort chapter of the Army Aviation Association of America (AAAA), which has already honored Ward by naming their Soldier of the Month award in his memory. The group would also like to posthumously bestow him with the Order of St. Michael, an award recognizing his contributions to army aviation, as well as a historical marker right here near his Pine Knot birthplace and induction into the Aviation Hall of Fame.

“It’s a great story,” Grapin said of Ward’s history with the army.

The aeronautical division was officially established in August 1907. Ward was a corporal when he began basic training as a balloon pilot, having first enlisted in 1901 at the age of 19.

Dr. Grapin has already been in contact with county officials about a local ceremony to honor Ward, while Blevins agreed to contact other relatives to determine scheduling. Ward’s oldest living relative is a niece from Louisville, who will be turning 99 this May. Blevins expressed hope that she will be able to make the trip.

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