June 23, 2021


by: admin


Tags: Autism, Man, Navy, Offer, Retracts, ROTC, Scholarship, Spectrum, young


Categories: autism

Navy Retracts ROTC Scholarship Supply from Younger Man on the Autism Spectrum

A young man with autism falters after being offered a full Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) scholarship and then taken back by the Navy. He says he believes autism is why the Navy is no longer interested in giving it
a scholarship.

Tory Ridgeway has always wanted to serve his community and nation. As a teenager, he accompanied his father to Joint Base Andrews and became an Eagle Scout in 2017. He even joined Junior ROTC in high school to prepare for reality. He dreamed about it all his life.

When Tory received a letter in the mail a few months ago stating that he had received a full Navy ROTC scholarship to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, he was delighted. His family videotaped the moment, showing Tory open-mouthed and speechless as the letter fell from his hands. Then he turned to his father and hugged him tightly.

Photo by NBC4 Washington

“This has been my dream for more than 10 years and now it’s actually happening,” Tory said in an interview shortly after receiving the letter.

However, Tory was only able to enjoy his victory for a few months before the Navy sent out another offer explaining why they had to withdraw the offer. The letter quoted “Academic Skills and Developmental Disabilities,” but Tory and his family believe this is just a flowery way of saying he was rejected for autism.

“When they saw that I had autism, they turned me down and said autism was a disqualification,” says Tory. “My head is still spinning. It still makes me stressed out. “

Photo by NBC4 Washington

Tory says he never tried to hide the fact that he had autism and was always open to it. The disruption was his inspiration for many of the great projects he has worked on, including the “Buddy Bank” he created as an Eagle Scout for children who have difficulty making friends to play with. Tory even talked about autism in his application essay and interview for the scholarship.

But despite everything, the Navy remained adamant and refused to reconsider Tory as a candidate for the scholarship.

“The Navy offers NROTC grants when a candidate meets multiple requirements, including a medical exam that is completed after a candidate is offered a grant,” said Phil Chitty, a spokesman for Naval Service Training Command.

Photo by NBC4 Washington

However, due to health care privacy laws, Chitty couldn’t tell if autism was the cause of Tory’s disqualification.

The ROTC website states that “academic competence defects after the 14th […] are disqualifying, but possibly deductible. “

Tory’s parents Troy and Vanessa say the situation has been a “heartbreaking” blow to their family. “To see the devastation and see him find out was what […] a worse chapter in my life, ”says Vanessa.

Photo by NBC4 Washington

“My dream was to become the first mate in this family,” says Tory. “It’s really scary that it’s being taken away now.”

Tory still plans to visit Embry-Riddle and hopes he can continue to serve his country. But he’ll have to do it all without the financial help of his full scholarship.

“This country is my home,” explains Tory. “It gave me so much. My family and friends have given me so much and I would give anything to enable them to have a wonderful life. “

Photo by NBC4 Washington

Tory is under orders to report to boot camp, what he will do while he waits to find out more about his position in the ROTC program. He is currently trying to appeal the decision.

We wish you all the best, Tory, and hope the Navy can overcome their prejudice against the intelligent and hardworking young man who you obviously are. You would be an asset to the military in this country and you absolutely deserve the scholarship that you have been offered.

Check out the video below to learn more.


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