Maywood Native, Air Force Pilot to Be Recognized at BET Awards

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Maywood native Kenyatta Ruffin standing near his fighter jet. | Courtesy Ruffin  via U.S. Air Force 

Ruffin II.JPGSunday, June 26, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews ||@village_free 

This year’s BET Awards show will have a Maywood angle and it won’t just be about spotlighting an athlete or entertainer.

Maywood native Kenyatta Ruffin will be honored during the Shine a Light portion of this year’s show, which airs live today at 7 p.m., according to a statement released by the Air Force’s recruiting and public affairs division.

Ruffin, an instructor pilot with the 469th Flying Training Squadron at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas and the founder of the nonprofit Legacy Flight Academy, began flying when was 13 years old. His mother, flight attendant Gina Ruffin, still lives in Maywood.

According to the Air Force released, Ruffin started his nonprofit “provide youths with the same opportunities he received growing up, so he volunteered as a flight instructor with Civil Air Patrol and other flight programs. He spoke at high school graduations, open houses and other mentorship events. His admiration for the Tuskegee Airmen and his passion for aviation led him to the idea of the LFA program.”

Ruffin, who has been deployed several times to Iraq and Afghanistan, lauded the Air Force’s “core values.”

“The idea of sacrificing, serving, helping others and giving back are encompassed in the core values and one of the reasons I created the LFA program,” Ruffin noted in the statement.

“Being highlighted at the 2016 BET Awards presents an opportunity for me to be able to continue to engage the minority youth to let them know about careers in the Air Force, in aviation and STEM fields,” he said. “I see this as a platform to continue what I am passionate about, which is to inspire others and motivate them to succeed.” VFP

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