Scott Whelpley’s roots reach to the California farm country of the Salinas Valley. He is the first and only member of his family to have graduated from college. The 20-year veteran of the U.S. Navy went on to earn a Masters Degree in Public Administration from the University of Washington. Scott has two children, 19-year-old daughter Brooke and 17-year-old son Calvin. Scott now works as a Senior Project Analyst on American electronic military aircraft.

Childhood

Scott’s Mexican mother completed only eight years of education and, did not completely learn how to speak English until she was eight years. Her husband abandoned the family when Scott was four years old, leaving her alone to care for three small children. Scott learned about hard work by watching his mother go off to work each day at a produce packing shed. For nearly 20 years she managed to provide for her family on a very small income. A membership in the local Teamsters Union for more than 17 years allowed her to acquire health insurance for her and her children. These days her pension, coupled with Social Security, provides her a modest retirement income.

Scott recalls that his mother never took the easy road. She never received welfare and never dated or remarried. Her focus was always on raising her three children.

Being the oldest of three siblings, Scott learned leadership at an early age. His family responsibilities helped form his two greatest priorities today; family and community. He believes nothing is given to you, but rather hard work, dedication and perseverance are what create success.

College and career in the U.S. Navy

Scott graduated as a baseball standout from California State University, Chico, , with a degree in Social Psychology. Scott enlisted in the U.S. Navy as an Aviation Electronics Technician, rising steadily through the ranks to Petty Officer 2nd Class, before being selected for Officer Candidate School. He eventually attended flight school where he was designated as a Naval Flight Officer.

In more than 20 years of military service, Whelpley has seen seven deployments, including five after Sept. 11, 2001. He still vividly remembers flying a mission over Afghanistan on Christmas Eve 2001, one of more than 20 combat missions he flew that tour, for which he received an Air Medal. Two of his tours were boots on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq. Working with special operations in Iraq he received the Bronze Star. He has been stationed in and around the Pacific Northwest since 2000.