Our mission is to carry on the legacy of Maj. Stephen “Cajun” Del Bagno by helping stellar young Americans chase their own dreams to fly and pursue their passion for aviation.
Maj. Stephen “Cajun” Del Bagno lived for aviation. As a high school student, he volunteered to clean toilets, wash hangar floors, and airplanes in exchange for flying lessons at his local airfield, CP Aviation. From these humble beginnings, Stephen embarked on a worldwide adventure, flying more than 3500 flight hours in over 30 civilian and military aircraft. As a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot, Stephen proved to be a natural leader and skilled aviator, ultimately being trusted to fly the most advanced fighter aircraft ever built, the F-35 Lightning II.
Stephen worked extremely hard, overcame numerous obstacles and was able to fulfill a lifelong dream of flying for the elite U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds as the #4, Slot Pilot.
He inspired everyone he encountered to dream big and to never give up. When engaging with fans, family and friends he always stressed his 4 P’s to Prosperity: Find your Passion, that will give you Purpose, be Persistent in your pursuit, be Personable (Humble, Credible, and Approachable) and you will Prosper. Both in an out of the cockpit, Stephen embodied the finest qualities of his country, his service, and the spirit of the Thunderbirds.
On April 4, 2018, the world suffered an unimaginable loss as Maj. Del Bagno perished during a routine aerial demonstration training. In his 34 years, he mastered the art of persistence, embodied being a “good dude”, took pride in giving back to his community and stayed humble in his pursuit for excellence. He is missed beyond measure and this foundation will continue Stephen’s legacy and allow his family to help stellar young Americans chase their own dreams to fly and pursue their passion for aviation.
Cajun's 4 P’s to Prosperity
Find your Passion
that will give you Purpose
be Persistent in your pursuit
be Personable-Humble, Credible, and Approachable
APRIL 4, 2020 - APRIL 30, 2020
LOCATION: YOUR CHOICE
How does it work: Click the learn more button below and pick a hiker level, fill out the form and process payment. Read and agree to the release and complete the registration. You will be emailed a receipt. Go for a hike any time from April 4th – April 30th. Upon completion of your hike return to the bottom of this website page to submit a photo from your hike and enter your stats (location, distance, time). Only 1 submission per registered hiker. All submissions will be verified against original registration forms to confirm eligibility. Each registered hiker will receive a thank you gift for participating.
Why: On April 4, 2018 we lost a son, brother, uncle, friend, incredible fighter pilot and an all-around good dude when Maj. Stephen “Cajun” Del Bagno perished during a training flight with the USAF Thunderbirds. He was also just shy of his 35th birthday on April 30th. Since Cajun can’t be here with us, our family would like to honor and remember him during the month of April by raising money for his scholarship fund while encouraging people to get outdoors and do an activity that he enjoyed. There is something healing about being in nature and he was always down for a good hike!
CADI Scholarship Winners
One of the recipients of the 2019 Cajun’s Aviation Dream Scholarship Awards is Joaquin O’Keefe. He is 17 years old and is from California.
Joaquin discovered the EAA Young Eagles program when he was 16 and took his first ride out of Compton, CA in a Diamond DA20. This flight inspired him to pursue his own pilot’s license. He has done so through the Sporty’s online ground school and used a voucher from the EAA for a free instructed flight lesson in a Cessna 172 at a flight school in Torrance. He is currently a third of the way through obtaining his license in a Cessna 152. In 2018 he also became a member of the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program. He is interested in becoming an A&P mechanic in addition to being a pilot. He is very excited to attend the EAA Advanced Air Academy Camp and will use the experience to network and help him decide to pursue flying helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, and/or possibly joining the military.
One of the recipients of the 2019 Cajun’s Aviation Dream Scholarship Awards is Makaio Anderson. He is 16 years old and is from Florida.
Makaio did a discovery flight with the Young Eagles program when he was eight years old. The pilot let him fly the plane and he has been in love with everything about airplanes since then. He has attended four meetings of the EAA Ultralight Chapter 149 South Lakeland X49ers at the South Lakeland Airport where he was able to help rivet a wing for a bi-plane, do pre-flight walk arounds and safety checks. Makaio was awarded the James C. Ray scholarship when he was 15 years old for a Glider Solo where he completed his training at Seminole Lake Gliderport and soloed on October 21, 2017. He has since logged 81 hours in a glider, volunteers his time at the Gliderport in exchange for flight hours, and currently attends ground school at Central Florida Aerospace Academy. Makaio wants to become an instructor to teach kids how to fly gliders and his ultimate career goal is to become a private, commercial or military pilot. He is very excited to attend the EAA Advanced Air Academy Camp and will use the experience to gain as much knowledge about the future of aviation and how he can be a part of it.
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