The same Herkimer County students who petitioned NASA for artifacts for a local memorial for 1962 Mohawk High School graduate, Gregory B. Jarvis, unveiled the flight suit NASA sent to be part of the memorial. Hundreds came to Herkimer College Friday for a moving ceremony, honoring Jarvis. NASA Astronaut, Dr. Stanley Love, Ph.D., spoke about Jarvis, and, exploration.
"Humans have an innate drive to explore. It's in our blood. We want to know what's over that next hill," said Love, hinting, too, at the inherent dangers of exploration. "There are unexpected events and conditions. By definition, explorers are far from help and unforunately, some explorers don't make it back."
Such was the fate met by Jarvis, a payload specialist, and six others, when the Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after takeoff, on January 28, 1986. Love wanted local students to know that, no matter how small or rural their launch pad, they could still use it to reach for the stars.
"Even a kid who grows up out here in central New York and thinks that the rest of the world has never heard of him or doesn't care about him can grow up to fly in space," said Love.
Also honoring Jarvis during Friday's unveiling-1984 Frankfort High School graduate, Scott Wilson, who is currently building the Orion Spacecraft for NASA, Kennedy Space Center.
"When I was a little kid, I would write letters to NASA. I was kind of a geeky little kid. I would write letters, and to my amazement, they sent back patches or sent back pictures and I remember how excited I got and I never dreamed I'd be able to work there," said Wilson, adding that it's thrilling and rewarding to come home and inspire young students to reach great heights.
The flight suit revealed on Friday, along with other artifacts, including some from Jarvis' widow, will form a memorial that will be displayed in the Herkimer County Office Building.