EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --
Ties to our local community, whether through schools, businesses, churches, or volunteer organizations are some of the factors that make membership in the National Guard unique. Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau, references community no less than eight times in the 2018 NGB Posture Statement — community is important.
For Senior Master Sgt. Rebecca Donovan, 168th Force Support Flight superintendent, community took on a different definition today as her daughter Emily signed her college letter of intent to play volleyball for Tennessee Wesleyan University, in Athens, Tennessee.
“We are so proud of her,” Donovan said. “She has been playing volleyball for six years here on base, starting in seventh grade at the junior high school.”
Emily Donovan is graduating in May from Ben Eielson High School, and is one of a number of local high school athletes who have signed college letters this week.
In a Fairbanks Daily News-Miner article April 28, Emily said she chose Tennessee Wesleyan because, “they have the exact degree program that I was looking for.”
Emily has always had an interest in being an athletic trainer, said her mom, so the exercise science and sports psychology programs offered by the school fit right in.
When asked how she was influenced by her coaches and teachers, “Coach had us write down new goals every season,” Donovan said. “Seeing what you’ve accomplished at the end of the year really helps you stay focused and motivated.”
In addition to playing volleyball at school, Emily played with a club team in Fairbanks for four years, which helped hone her skills.
Rebecca Donovan, a member of the 168th Wing for 26 years, remarked on how deep her family’s ties are to the Interior Alaska community: “Emily has grown up here, I’ve grown up here as a member of this unit, and even though this is home, Emily is getting ready to embark on a new adventure in Tennessee.”
The young Donovan won’t have much time to adjust though, she travels this coming summer with practices at Tennessee Wesleyan beginning the first week of August.