Geibel grad, now a pilot, goes viral for his gratitude

By Lori Padilla
Contributing Writer
Jason Schuessler, a 2004 Geibel Catholic Junior-Senior High School, Connellsville, graduate, wanted to fly since he was four. Today, he is a pilot with United Airlines.

The St. John the Evangelist Regional Catholic School, Uniontown, alumnus, says he couldn’t have done it without the support of his family. That gratitude has garnered him national attention.

Schuessler’s parents, Johanna and Jeffery, visited him in Los Angeles, and he was the pilot on their return flight. Schuessler took the intercom and thanked them for their sacrifices. His message was recorded and went viral, viewed over 36,000 times. It caught the attention of Newsweek and “Good Morning America.”

“We knew that he would speak to his passengers before takeoff but never expected so much attention,” said his mother. “We really couldn’t believe what we were seeing and the amount of appreciation. It really made our hearts warm.”

Schuessler is not sure what sparked his interest in flying. 
“I remember getting excited as a child when ‘M*A*S*H’ would come on TV, and seeing the helicopters landing during the opening credits,” he said. “My family helped me keep the spark burning over the years, from trips to the airport to see the planes, to running up to the helipad of the Uniontown Hospital to see Stat MedEvac. Even my teachers at St. John’s stopped disciplining me for jumping up and looking out the window if I would hear the helicopter getting close. It was a collective effort by everyone.”


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