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Someone You Should Know: Overcoming obstacles to reach the top

Published: Mar. 17, 2021 at 6:42 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - A Sioux Falls man has overcome obstacles to rise to the top of the South Dakota Civil Air Patrol.

Travis Robinson joined the Sioux Falls Composite of the South Dakota Civil Air Patrol four years ago. He was recently named its new commander.

“Means a lot. Means that the senior members of the squadron think highly of the way that I teach the cadets. How I can lead,” Travis said.

“I think it speaks positively not just about Travis’s skills and abilities, but I think about our organization as well. We look at people’s abilities, not their disabilities,” says member Todd Epp.

It’s no surprise about Robinson’s rise in the ranks. He knows how to overcome obstacles. When he was 16, a high school sophomore at Akron-Westfield, he was severely injured in a car accident.

“Fell asleep behind the wheel about a mile away from home, hit a cement culvert, and catapulted about 100 feet. Wasn’t drinking, had my seatbelt on,” Travis said.

The accident left Travis unable to walk. At first, he was told he couldn’t be in the military because of his situation. Years later, the Civil Air Patrol, and an interest in what they do, drew him in.

“The interest in it is the military aspect of it. Dedication, integrity, discipline. I had worked for Sam’s Club for a few years and became friends with one of the members there. He became interested in how I could talk on the radio and thought it would be very interesting if I would be able to help him out with the Civil Air Patrol,” Travis said.

One of his many duties as the commander includes leading the Civil Air Patrol in an emergency.

“Coordinating search and rescue missions. Emergency services were one of the aspects of the Civil Air Patrol. So coordinating pilots, ground teams, drone teams, cadets. We’ve got eyes in the air and boots on the ground coordinating that,” Travis said.

And he has some advice to those of you who hear you can’t do something when really you can.

“Everyone has things that get them down, but it’s all about how you overcome those things. It’s not the stairs you gotta climb, but it’s the 50 things that you can do once you get to the top of those stairs,” Travis said.

Robinson has many goals as commander of the Civil Air Patrol which includes improved training.

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