Golden Flash award winner sits down for Q&A

Danie Minor

The Alumni Association at Kent State will be awarding those who, through leadership and hard work, have made exceptional contributions in their chosen profession, communities and at Kent State during the second annual Alumni Awards on Oct. 2.

The association will hand out various awards to outstanding alumni and one current student, senior aeronautics major, Douglas DeFouw.

The 2015 award recipients are:

Timothy Hunsicker, ’92, ’93, M.Arch. ’94; Distinguished Alumni Award

Earl Miller, ’85; Professional Achievement Award

Abbie Morneault, ’12; Distinguished Citizen Award

Larry, ’71, ’73, M.Ed. and Sandy, ’75 Disbro; Kent State Advocacy Award

Morgan Shields, ’14; Outstanding New Professional Award

Douglas DeFouw, Jr., ’17; Golden Flash Award

Each year the Golden Flash Award is given to a student who not only excels in their major but also is involved with other organizations outside of their programs. 

DeFouw sat down with The Kent Stater for an interview regarding his nomination for the Golden Flash award.

Q: Who nominated you to win the GFA?

A: “I know it was Capt. Phillip Bergeron and he worked with a Cadet Trenton to get the awards packet in.”


Q: Are you really close with Capt. Bergeron?

A: “I know that the first couple of years he probably wasn’t my biggest fan and he always really pushed me. It seemed like he was really a lot harder on me than everyone else. Now we work a lot more close together. I think I wasn’t always the hardest worker when I came in (to the ROTC program) and he pushed me a lot to get to a position where I work harder. He is a great mentor that I’ve had and I look forward to working with him throughout my career, knowing that I can go back to him for help or advice, or honestly anything.”

Q: How does it feel to win this award from the Alumni Association?

A: “It’s pretty exciting, I mean, the award is an interesting thing. It’s weird being in the military and winning awards. Especially being in ROTC, I feel like we haven’t earned what the other guys have yet, but it’s nice to get recognition for working hard.”

Q: When you say “other guys” who do you mean?

A: “All of the active duty service members. They are the ones that deserve the recognition.”

Q: What other activities besides your major and ROTC are you involved in?”

A: “I’m pretty involved in Relay for Life and I also work with the flight team at the airport (in Stow.)”

Q: What exactly do you do for Relay for Life?

A: “When I was a sophomore I started the Air Force team. We had never had one in the past and I thought it was crazy that we didn’t already do that. We have progressively gotten more involved with the team. We also usually donate a few of our freshman to help set up and take down (the event.)

Q: What made you become so heavily involved in Relay for Life?

A: “Both of my parents had cancer and my mother ended up passing away from cancer when I was a junior in high school. That was a big motivator for me (to get involved with Relay for Life.) And then when my dad got cancer last year, it was another motivator to get involved. If my parents have it, then other people’s parents do as well, and if there’s something that I am able to help with, that means I am going to help.”

Q: What made you want to go into the Air Force ROTC Program here at Kent?

A: “Originally it was ‘I want to go fly jets for the Air Force’ because I think everyone starts wanting to fly. But I always wanted to serve (in the military) and I knew I could fly for the airlines. I think serving has always caught my attention and I have always wanted to give back in some way. My goal has changed from wanting to just be a pilot to serving.”

Q: What are your plans after graduation? 

A: “When I graduate (in 2016) I will commission as a 2nd Lt. active duty Air Force. I will then find out my career assignment in January, so I am hoping to go pilot. I will do at least two years in pilot training in the U.S. and then I could go to a duty assignment overseas or get deployed. But, this is at least 12 years of a service commitment so at least the next 12 years of my life are dedicated to the Air Force. I signed my contract two weeks ago and it was a tough decision because I was getting job offers from airlines to go fly with them after I graduate and all my friends are going to the airline, so they will get to go live in Chicago or NYC and I will have no idea where I will be. It’s kind of like jumping head first into a pool and you don’t know how far below the pool is. I don’t know where I am going to end up.”

Q: Are you more nervous or excited for these next steps of your life?

A: “I’m kind of at peace with everything now. I think at first I was really nervous about it, but as long as I keep working hard everything will work itself out.”

Q: How did you find out you won the Golden Flash Award?

A: “I was at officer training over the summer when I got this letter from my dad and he was like, ‘Hey, you received this letter from KSU and I don’t know what this is all about.’ I was like, ‘This is not for me, there is no way.’ I saw the name Douglas DeFouw (on the letter) so I really just thought this was meant to go to my dad because I am junior. So, I was like ‘That’s cool dad, why did you send me this? You won an award, why did you send me this when I am at officer training?’ and then I kept reading and I saw “JR” after the name and I realized it was for me! It was pretty wild at first when I read that I won this award.”

Q: Are you excited to receive the Golden Flash Award?

A: “I am! I am really excited. There is a dinner and my dad is going to come with me. It will be really cool. My dad (who will be coming from South Carolina) is an alumni, so it’s awesome for him to come back and see all of the changes that are being made to the university.”

The Alumni Association is holding the award ceremony on Oct. 2 at 6:30 p.m. at the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center.

Danie Minor is an alumni reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].