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renzi-weaver02-1-31U.S. Rep. Rick Renzi [R-Ariz.] was in Sedona on Saturday, Jan. 27. Although the visit to his constituency was ordinary, his mission was extraordinary.

By Nate Hansen
Larson Newspapers

U.S. Rep. Rick Renzi [R-Ariz.] was in Sedona on Saturday, Jan. 27. Although the visit to his constituency was ordinary, his mission was extraordinary.

According to Renzi, he recently returned from Iraq. He said he was in the country during former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s execution.

After tense moments of being “locked down” and protected from any chance of uprising, Renzi returned to the United States anxious to find the inverse traits of a dictator’s leadership.

Fortunately, Civil Air Patrol Cadet Lt. Col. Max Weaver, a Sedona Red Rock High School senior, exemplified those exact ideals. Renzi returned to Northern Arizona and took it upon himself to

congratulate Weaver, the recipient of the prestigious General Ira C. Eaker Award.

The award is named in honor of the U.S. Army Air Corps general who organized a key bomber group in Europe at the end of World War II.

The Eaker Award is bestowed by Civil Air Patrol’s headquarters. In order to earn the award, a cadet must meet 16 achievements in four phases of academics, leadership, moral leadership and physical fitness.

The annual award provides national recognition to only 100 of the 27,000 cadets between ages 12 to 20. It is the fourth milestone as a cadet.

Saturday, Jan. 27, a little after 2:30 p.m. in Sedona City Hall’s Council Chambers, CAP officers and cadets recognized the contributions of one of their own, Weaver. Among others in the crowd were Mayor Pud Colquitt, friends and his ever-supportive family.

Renzi stood to the side of the chamber’s podium, flanked by Weaver, a future U.S. Air Force Academy cadet.

“I’ve been fortunate and humbled to present this certificate today,” Renzi said.

He turned to Weaver, who stood at attention.

“The best times that I have are presenting honors to veterans or giving recognition to young people with awards … I am very privileged to be able to do that today,” Renzi said.

His eyes passed over a vast list of Weaver’s accomplishments.

“I looked over the accomplishments that Max [Weaver] has achieved in his young career already, and it is absolutely substantial,” Renzi said.Last year, U.S. Sen. John McCain [R-Ariz.] nominated Weaver to the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy, in addition to the U.S. Air Force Academy, all of which selected him to attend.

“Everybody’s been fighting over Max [Weaver],” Renzi said proudly.

Renzi looked into the audience, addressing key factors in Weaver’s past.

He listed academics. Weaver’s were “off the charts,” he says. Whether those grades make him a valedictorian, he didn’t know — but they’re key.

“He then brings with that a balance between the spiritual, the intellectual and the physical. Now, this is something you don’t always see,” Renzi admitted. “To master this world is to master all three spheres.”

Renzi turned once again to Weaver, pointing to him as an example. He says Weaver epitomizes that balance.Renzi recognized Weaver for academics and athletics, even confessing his shot-put distance was shy of Weaver’s own record.

Despite all attributes, what stood out beyond all of those was Weaver’s spirituality.

Renzi spoke about compassion and humility and using action over words. He suggested the most impressive trait to Weaver’s résumé was the fact he attended church and worked in a soup kitchen — actions over words.

Before presenting Weaver with the General Ira C. Eaker Award, his parents were invited to join him before all onlookers. Squadron Commander Lt. Col. Mike Sue and Colquitt accompanied them as well.

“We are a community where parents and friends become mentors,” Renzi said.He reminded people of a familiar proverb. “It takes a village to raise a child.”Once Renzi awarded Weaver, he asked him to say a few words.

Weaver grabbed the sides of the podium confidently.

“If I am deserving of this award, it is only because of those who helped me get where I am today,” he said eloquently.

Renzi, again impressed, commented on Weaver’s potential in Congress. He then turned to congratulate Weaver’s parents.

“I have seven sons and five girls. I know who’s in charge,” he joked with Weaver’s mother.

After the ceremony, Weaver stood beside Renzi. He stood proudly at parade rest while the elected official spoke earnestly of a military life he knew well.

Renzi’s father, retired U.S. Army Major Gen. Eugene Renzi, served at Arizona’s Fort Huachuca.

In addition to those memories, he will never forget the events he witnessed on Sept. 11, 2001.

“There’s a lot of young men with a lot of caliber out there, but there’s not a lot with his balance. What stood out was his academics, his athletics, his sense of community, his faith,” he stressed.

Renzi thought about how those traits related to Weaver’s career choices — aerospace engineer and pilot. He said each was essential for successful leadership.

One last time he turned to Weaver. He looked him dead in the eyes.

“With all your talents, stay humble, because your life and your career could be phenomenal. I’m impressed,” Renzi concluded.


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