Jared Hill, a native of Vevay who now flies for United Parcel Service, was honored last week with the company’s “Pilot of the Year” award.
He earned the honor for his heroism along with his captain in overcoming a malfunction and landing their plane safely on a flight to South Korea in January of last year.
The award was presented last Friday night in Louisville, and Jared Hill had to make a special trip back to accept the award, because he and his family are currently serving as missionaries in Uganda. His parents, Bill and Jackie Hill, were able to accompany him to the awards ceremony.
“The plane did a ‘boo boo’ while landing in South Korea, and they were able to salvage it,” Bill Hill said. “They were about 30 feet off of the ground and it started to nose dive, and it actually dropped onto the runway and then bounce back up. They were able to quickly get it back up again. He wasn’t alone on the plane, his captain was with him and was also honored, but the landing strip was just 11 miles from the North Korea border, so that added even more to it. That’s nothing in an airplane”
Jared Hill was honored from among 2,600 pilots who fly for UPS, and each year the company makes a point of recognizing pilots who have excelled in a variety of areas. Making the presentation was the President of UPS Airlines and also the Vice President of the company.
Jared Hill flies an MD-11, a 725,000-pound airplane; and has flown many flights for the company over his 8 1/2 years there.
“He loves flying,” Bill Hill said. “He’s looking forward to getting back. He’s had great experiences as a missionary, but he loves to fly, too.”
After learning that he had been nominated for the award, Jared Hill was told by the Director of Operations that he had won the award because of the special circumstances surrounding him being on leave while serving as a missionary in Uganda until July of this year.
After learning that, his church arranged to cover the expense of bringing him back to the U.S. for the ceremony.
He flew in last Thursday, making the 24-hour flight; and was then here for 36-hours before the return trip was made on Saturday morning.
“We picked him up and Standiford Field and brought him back here for a bit,” Bill Hill said. “He wanted to come home for some Roxano’s breadsticks. We also went to Janna’s (his sister, Janna Sweeney) for a visit, and then it was back to Louisville for the presentation and the trip back.
Before leaving, he also had some mail to deliver.
“Over in Uganda, there is a 16-year old boy who told Jared that he wants to be a pilot when he grows up, and he asked him if he would tale a letter to UPS with him,” Jackie Hill said. “He wanted to let them know he wanted to fly for them. He went to his little house and Jared went over and got it and he brought it with him and gave it to the President of the company. He kept that letter.”
Back in Uganda, he is teaching math to third, fourth, fifth, and sixth graders. Also in Uganda is his wife, Laura, and their three children: Hunter, Noah, and Savannah.
He graduated from Switzerland County High School in 1994.