Colonel and Civil Air Patrol member Joe Winter – who just so happens to be a professor of mine at Loyola this semester – was kind enough to allow me to take a glimpse into his life as a visitor to the Maryland National Guard just outside of Baltimore, Maryland.

As a graduate of St. Thomas Aquinas College, where he received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Sports Management, Colonel Winter put his sports knowledge to use by helping to build an organization called Loyola SuperFans.

The student-led group is dedicated to the promotion of the university’s athletics program and the support of the student-athletes.

SuperFans is best known for its commitment to creating electric atmospheres at Ridley Athletic Complex, home to Loyola men’s and women’s lacrosse. The organization shined bright during Loyola’s 2012 National Championship run, as head coach Charley Toomey led the Greyhounds to a victory over powerhouse Maryland.

With all that said, Colonel Winter’s resume reaches much more than just sports.

The New York native has traveled to Ghana and Singapore as an ambassador for Civil Air Patrol in the International Air Cadet Exchange. Ever since this experience, he’s had great influence in the local Maryland Wing hosting of international guests.

“Having the ability to serve around the world is a pretty powerful experience. There’s a tremendous amount of pride when you put this uniform on,” he shared.

The planes featured in the photos provided below just recently returned from fighting ISIS in Turkey. At any given time, Colonel Winter is prepared to fly a plane to wherever necessary. He jokingly refers to flying as “air therapy” because it offers a step outside reality.

In addition to being a member of the Civil Air Patrol, Colonel Winter is an Air Force officer at the 175th Wing where he is assigned as the Wing Executive Officer.

“My brothers and sisters here at the 175th wing performed admirably in preparing our nation and protecting our interests abroad,” said Winter.

The Jesuit education has played a major role in his life on the military side.

“No doubt my experience of working at a Jesuit institution, and sort of the Jesuit ideals and the core values of a Jesuit education, have shaped my decision-making process in the military; have shaped the way that I supervise my staff; the way that I mentor and lead the troops that serve alongside me,” Winter explained.

Colonel Winter doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon.

“I’ve committed my life to the military and I will certainly continue to do so as long as they keep me in. They’re going to have to be kicking me out. I’d only hope my relationship with Loyola, too, stays. There’s nothing better than teaching,” said Winter.

I want to extend my thanks to Colonel Winter for his flexibility and generosity. Readers and viewers have a chance to enjoy the story of a selfless and committed man.

Watch our full interview here:

A special thanks to my Loyola production team: Jenna Ertel, Nick Robinson & Morgan Sandlas.