With the recent success of the Punta Gorda Air Show, which paid tribute to man’s fascination with flight, and the mystique of Halloween soon upon us, I thought what better way to pay tribute to these two special events than to have our Marketing Specialist, Heidi Polito, author of this month’s newsletter. Heidi’s husband Gerard is an Engineering Test Specialist with SpaceX and one of their daughters, Olivia, wants to be an Astronaut this Halloween. I remember as a kid myself dressing up as an Astronaut one Halloween by cutting an opening in a cardboard box and attaching two aluminum foil antenna’s. I most likely looked more like a television than an Astronaut, something I think Olivia’s father and creative mom will be able to improve on. Now starts Heidi’s story of her husband’s role with SpaceX and her daughter’s aspiring desire to be an Astronaut:
Halloween is a time where people love to express themselves in a variety of ways and no one sits in judgment of them. They are free to be whoever they want to be for the night in a very creative way. While I’m not seeing people dress up as Wall Street stockbrokers and successful doctors and lawyers, it is a night of innocent inquisitiveness to create whatever they want to be with no one passing judgment or telling them what they can or cannot be (of course, to some extent). As a family with two young daughters who just moved across the country, we have had many conversations about Halloween, as well as many conversations that allow our girls to become who they want to be.
With October being by far our favorite month of the year we also celebrate two of our family members’ birthdays. One of which is my husband’s, Gerard, that falls on Halloween. To say we go all out with décor and costumes is an understatement. Over the years, we have dressed up as Beetlejuice characters, princesses, scary voodoo dolls, and characters from our favorite shows such as Wreck-it Ralph, and Stranger Things. We try to do a family theme, however, this year our daughters chose costumes ironically more tailored to what they are aspiring to grow up and become.
Our 8-year-old Avra has decided to be Velma from Scooby-Doo. She was sold on this costume because she is obsessed with animals and getting to carry around a plush Scooby-Doo toy for the evening. She wishes to be a veterinarian one day. On the other hand, our 9-year-old Olivia chose to be an astronaut. This all stems from the recent Inspiration4 Mission. You see this cross-country move mentioned above was all in part of my husband landing his dream job at his dream company, SpaceX. He has been in the aerospace industry for over 14 years and when he was scouted out for a position to be the Lead Non-Destructive Testing Specialist for Composites in Los Angeles, we knew it was an opportunity he couldn’t let pass by.
With this new job, he had the honor of being part of the Inspiration 4 Mission recently launched by SpaceX. This mission completed the first orbital spaceflight with only private citizens aboard and was part of a charitable effort on behalf of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Inspiration4 was led by Shift4 Payments CEO Jared Isaacman, an experienced pilot with a qualification in military jets. Isaacman procured the flight and its four seats from SpaceX and donated two of the seats to St. Jude. Hayley Arceneaux, a physician assistant at the hospital and a survivor of bone cancer, was selected by the hospital to board the flight. St. Jude raffled the second seat as part of a campaign to raise $200 million for the hospital. An undisclosed person from Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University ultimately won the raffle and decided for personal reasons to give the seat to his friend, U.S. Air Force veteran Christopher Sembroski, who was also one of 72,000 entrants in the raffle. Entrepreneur Sian Proctor was selected by Shift4 Payments to board the flight through a competition modeled after Shark Tank that rewarded the best business idea to make use of Shift4’s commerce solutions. Hayley at age 29, became the youngest American in space, and the first astronaut with prosthetic leg bones. Bringing this even closer to home, part of my husband’s job included the design/inspection of her special foot rest that she would specifically use on her journey.