Calder Felipe followed in her dad’s footsteps and attended the United States Air Force Academy. Tragically, Calder lost her dad at only 3-years-old when he died in a B-1 Crash over West, TX. She knows her dad would be proud of her for choosing such a noble path, especially his alma mater. 

“My mom always said when dad died we all had a choice: to run from the military or to embrace it. We knew his death was for something bigger than himself, bigger than all of us. We all kind of felt like running from service would make his death in vain,” explained Calder. “We were all scared, absolutely, but that’s why he would have been proud. Life is about embracing your fears and taking them head on, and we all did that.”

Calder sees the world through a different lense than your average student. She is often reminded of the good her father’s sacrifice has helped to create. She has a deep appreciation for the kindness people still have for one another, even strangers.

“The best way you can honor your fallen loved one is to just make your life as beautiful and meaningful as possible, because ultimately that would have been their dream for you; for their children to live the best life possible, and to be happy,” explained Calder.

For nine years, Calder dedicated her life to USAFA and the Air Force. She now dedicates her life to her family and community. One day, she would love to be an advocate for Vets, women, and grieving members of her community who have experienced loss.

“Losing a parent has been almost as tough as it can get, but having the support of military family has been a tremendous help”, explained Calder. “I meet people ALL the time randomly who knew my dad, and every time I do I know he’s looking down, sending me a little wink.”