Katrina Reinhart never met Nathan McDavitt, but as she read about him, she was struck by his involvement, service and commitment.
Now that she is a 2019 recipient of the third annual Airman First Class Nathaniel H. McDavitt Memorial Scholarship Award, she’s even more influenced by his story.
“I am so, so honored to have this opportunity to try to continue his legacy and carry his all-in spirit of service forward as best I can,” Reinhart said, “because helping others and building up communities in need is really the way to make a difference in this world.”
Nathaniel McDavitt, a 2011 graduate of Severna Park High School, enlisted in the United States Air Force in 2014 with the goal to be a crew chief responsible for maintaining fighter jets. He became known as Airman 1st Class Nathaniel H. McDavitt, an F-16 Fighting Falcon tactical aircraft maintainer with the 52nd Equipment Maintenance Squadron.
Stationed in Germany, McDavitt deployed to the Middle East on April 9, 2016. The following day, he was working in a building when a severe wind storm caused it to collapse. He was immediately transported to a hospital but succumbed to his injuries on April 15, 2016, with his mother, father and wife by his side.
McDavitt’s mother, Jeanette Middleton-Sudano, established the A1C Nathaniel H. McDavitt Memorial Scholarship Fund shortly after his death. The Airman First Class Nathaniel H. McDavitt Memorial Scholarship Award was then created to provide financial assistance to graduating high school seniors who have demonstrated exemplary qualities of character, drive and service — qualities that defined the essence of her late son.
“Nate was always helping someone,” Middleton-Sudano said. “We want to recognize other young people who work hard to contribute to their community and to be an advocate for people in need.”
She felt that Reinhart demonstrated outstanding achievements in the criteria of character, drive and service. “Katrina embodies Nathan’s legacy in her academic, athletic, community and social life,” Middleton-Sudano said. “Her commitment to her community through volunteer services while maintaining her other responsibilities seems like normal life to her but exceptional to us.”
Reinhart said, “Nathan gave his life in service to others, and I can’t even imagine the sorrow his family must feel, but I could see the overflowing pride of Mrs. Sudano upon meeting and talking with her. Her son lived a life of purpose, as serving others and giving oneself to a greater cause is the best purpose in life and is something for which everyone should strive.”
At Severn School, Reinhart’s leadership was evident in her roles as an activist and an athlete. She was instrumental in organizing Zonta Club’s hugely successful prom dress drive this spring, which collects donated prom dresses and offers them to other teenagers who are not otherwise able to afford them.
“She took the lead and communicated with the community about the event, reserved space and set up for the event, and transported the dresses and shoes back and forth to the reserved space,” said Sandy Sanders, advisor for the Severn chapter of Zonta Club International.
Richard Zmuda, Severn cross country head coach said, “Trina is a natural leader. A perfect example is on the athletic field. Her teammates unanimously selected her as a captain of the cross country team this past fall and she did not disappoint. She organized voluntary preseason practices throughout the summer, mentoring younger runners during the season and setting an example of hard work and dedication for everyone on the team.”
Reinhart will attend Georgia Institute of Technology in the fall with a focus on structural engineering.
“I plan to find avenues through which to serve my new communities [in college], but also to return to serve around Millersville, Severna Park and Maryland in general, too,” Reinhart said. “No matter where I go, I hope I will continue to contribute in a way that is worthy of Nathan’s legacy.”
To learn more about McDavitt and the memorial scholarship, visit www.iamnathan.org.