Kevin Ogilvie: So proud to be part of the RAF story
Kevin Ogilvie was just 20 when he signed up to join the RAF and two years later, the young Scotsman's life changed forever.
He suffered life-changing injuries in an IED explosion in Afghanistan.
Kevin was on patrol in Helmand province during his second tour of Afghanistan with 51 Squadron, RAF Regiment when his armoured Jackal vehicle drove over an IED.
As the driver, he sustained the worst injuries, including seven broken vertebrae, and subsequently spent four months recovering in hospital.
During this traumatic time the RAF Benevolent Fund supported the family, paying for Kevin’s wife Amie and their daughter Grace, who was just six months old at the time, to stay close to the spinal unit where he spent more than three months in rehabilitation.
The Fund also assisted Kevin’s parents, Phillip and Rhona, to make regular trips to visit him from their home town in Carnoustie.
Kevin said: “When I was in hospital I had no idea how badly I was injured.
“I was knocked out for two weeks but it was a real comfort to have Amie and my family close by. Amie was having to make a 40-minute journey back and forth to the hospital every day with our baby until the RAF Benevolent Fund stepped in.
“And without their support my parents wouldn’t have been able to see me every other weekend.”
Despite being paralysed from the chest down, with Kevin’s ironclad determination coupled with tremendous support from his family and friends, and assistance from the RAF Benevolent Fund, he decided to focus on the future and helping others.
In 2015, he and Amie embarked on an ambitious challenge to raise £10,000 for the RAF Benevolent Fund which had offered the couple so much support in their hour of need.
They met the challenge with events organised by family and friends, including two bungee jumps by Kevin’s brother Alister.
Kevin’s efforts have won him many accolades, chief among them being named as winner of the RAF Benevolent Fund Above and Beyond Award.
But Kevin and Amie, who now have two children – Grace (6) and Isaac (2) – still plan to do a promised skydive for the charity.
Kevin said: “The weather was really bad on the day scheduled for the jump so I couldn’t do it and Amie was pregnant at the time so she couldn’t either.
“Some of our family and friends did it – but we’re still planning to do it sometime!”
Kevin now works for the Spinal Injuries Association as a peer support officer in the east of England – helping others who suffer life-changing injuries.
As for his service with the RAF, the 28-year-old added: “I’d still recommend it as a career path – my wife might not, right enough!
“I can’t fault the life I had in the forces – it was good.
“And I think it’s fantastic that the 100th anniversary is shining a spotlight on the RAF and its work.
“That in turn is bringing the Benevolent Fund to light and all the support it offers service men and women.
“We’re very grateful for all the support we were provided, including adaptations to our home.
“If we can do a wee bit to repay that help, we’re more than happy to do so.”
Aircraft fly into Glasgow as part of a UK cities tour
Royal Air Force aircraft from the last 100 years of aviation will visit cities throughout the UK this year.
And in Scotland, the tour will fly into Glasgow Science Centre from August 31 to September 2.
Go along and learn about the last 100 years of life in the Royal Air Force; listen to the story of the Royal Air Force told by its people, past and present.
Hear how they led the world of aviation, from pioneer aviators to wartime heroes and the many everyday servicemen and women who served in the Royal Air Force.
Visitors will also get the chance to meet current members of the Royal Air Force and see how Science and Technology is now crucial in everthing that the air force does – from its skilled people to hi-tech aircraft and the capability it delivers to help keep the nation safe.
Visitors will be offered the chance of a selfie with one of the pilots or can try out some of the RAF’s STEM activities.
For more details, visit https://www.raf.mod.uk/raf100.