Veteran in the Spotlight - Jay Henderson
Jay’s heart for service began in Boy Scouts. Jay is an Eagle Scout and participated in countless community service projects as a youth.
At age 17, he enlisted in the Oklahoma Army National Guard and attended boot camp. The following year, Jay completed Military Intelligence School as a Commandant’s List Graduate. He then attended the Warrior Leader’s Course - again finishing as a Commandant’s List Graduate. By age 19, Jay earned the rank of Sergeant and received the Army Commendation Medal for work as the Battalion Intelligence Sergeant during his first deployment to Iraq, as well as receiving the Combat Action Badge.
Upon return to the United States, Jay completed an Associates Degree in History from Tulsa Community College prior to attending the US Army’s flight school. He completed Warrant Officer Candidate School as a Commandant’s List Graduate.
During his second deployment to Iraq, Jay served as a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter pilot for Tulsa’s own Bravo Company 2/285th Air Assault unit, earning the Air Medal and flying close to 450 combat hours.
Also notable in his flight career has been the extensive amount of domestic wildfire relief missions – perhaps most recognizably for the work done in Creek County during the summer of 2012.
In December of 2012, Jay graduated Summa Cum Laude from Oklahoma Wesleyan University with a B.S. in Ministry and Leadership.
Until the end of June 2013, he worked as the Chapel Intern at Restore Hope Ministries, a local United Methodist affiliate of the Oklahoma Conference that serves the greater Tulsa community as an outreach to families in economic crisis. He oversaw the “spiritual vitality” of Restore Hope’s mission statement by meeting daily with clients for prayer requests and organizing Chapel services.
His next assignment is attending seminary on full academic scholarship at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX in pursuit of ordination for the United Methodist denomination. Meanwhile, he has been appointed as pastor over 3 small country churches in the community of Celeste, TX.
Jay is also in the process of stepping down from his role as an Army helicopter pilot so he can pursue the Chaplaincy for the Oklahoma Army National Guard.
Believe it or not, Jay still manages to keep his family time sacred. He has a storybook romance with his high school sweetheart, Jamye, who Jay refers to as “the most awesome woman [he] ever met.” They have been married 8 years and have 4 beautiful children: Jade (6 yrs), Jakob (5yrs), and their identical twin girls, Jenika & Julliana (3 yrs) who were born during his last deployment to Iraq. Jay actually witnessed the birth via Skype.
Of his service, Jay says he has “no greater honor or important role of leadership than having a successful and loving marriage and family.”