For Trinity Senior, It’s Eyes on the Skies


photo provided by Mr. Matt Manning

Flight instructor Eric Jameson and Trinity senior Jared Roberts

Gus Boyer, Staff Reporter

Jared Roberts straps himself in to the leather seat, waiting for the methodical click of the metal pieces. The Trinity senior then carefully adjusts his headset, pushes the communication button, and listens for the static coming from his earpiece.

“Control tower to pilot,” he hears. “You are ready for takeoff.”

Jared then pushes down on the throttle and the plane lurches forward, gathering speed, dashing down the runway until the nose of the plane starts to lift and ascend. Higher and higher he flies. Jared is now airborne — he is free.

With his passion for flying originating in childhood, Jared has had his mind in the clouds for a long time; however, there’s one challenge in his path: immune deficiency. 

I went up in a little Cesna 172 and went flying in this camp, and ever since then I knew I wanted to fly.”

— Trinity senior Jared Roberts

In infancy Jared was diagnosed with common variable immune deficiency. Most people’s immune systems contain proteins like IgG, IgA, and IgM, but Jared is low on all of them. He is also low on killer cells, cells that attack bacteria. This means that Jared is highly susceptible to infection from bacteria and viruses and gets sick often, limiting his time for activities like flying.

Just this year Jared had to leave his senior retreat a day early because he got sick. CVID is incredibly rare. What’s more, cures are limited.

Jared said, “I have to do injections weekly to replenish the IgG protein — that’s really the only treatment there is right now.”

Without much current treatment, it seems like Jared would be in low spirits. In reality the opposite is true. According to Trinity Y-Club moderator Mr. Walter Mata, the immune deficiency “is something (Jared) takes as a motivation. He won’t allow it to stop him from what he’s doing.”

The deficiency has motivated Jared to help others who suffer from immune deficiency disorders. Recently, Jared raised money for the Immune Deficiency Foundation, which “gives people resources for scholarships; it helps people pay for their treatments and there are meetings all around the country. It’s just like a big community of people that are living with immune deficiencies.”

Jared was able to raise money through Facebook, which reached out to him on his birthday, asking Jared if he wanted to have a fundraiser.

Not really expecting anything to come of it, Jared clicked on the Immune Deficiency Foundation and set his goal at $200. “I didn’t even think I was going to reach $20, honestly,” he said.

What Jared received was much more than $20; in fact, at the end of the fundraiser he was at $2,345.

The money raised helps those with immune deficiency pursue their dreams of being leaders, traveling the world, and in Jared’s case, flying.

The main influence for Jared’s love of flying was his dad, who has his pilot license and is an engineer for UPS.

“He took me flying when I was really little,” Jared said, “and I was just glued to the window the whole time.”

Coincidently, flying seems to run in the family. Both Jared’s grandfather and great grandfather also had their pilot licenses, so it seems like Jared is next in line. One event that really sparked Jared’s love for flying was a camp at Bowman Field he attended at the age of 14.

He said, “I went up in a little Cesna 172 and went flying in this camp, and ever since then I knew I wanted to fly.”

A couple of years later, in July 2017, Jared started his flight training, gaining hours in the air towards his license, which he hopes to attain soon.  Currently Jared is a member of Tim’s Flying Club, which uses flight simulators and visits Bowman Field.

Tim’s Flying Club moderator Mr. Joseph Chittissery Mathai  said he is impressed with Jared’s progress toward earning a license.

Jared’s CVID is something he must always deal with. He said, “I had to get a first-class physical to make sure I could even become an airline pilot, because I didn’t want to put all that time and money into it if I couldn’t even fly.”

Jared said he has a backup plan in case flying doesn’t work out as a career. Next year he will be attending engineering school.

Even if Jared isn’t able to become a commercial pilot, he knows that flying will still be a part of his life. As he prepares to take off out of high school and into the world, Jared will keep his eyes on the skies.