Heather “Lucky” Penney to be Keynote Speaker

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April 2, 2018


Heather “Lucky” Penney to be Keynote Speaker

at 2018 Nevada Women’s Fund Women of Achievement Luncheon

RENO, Nev. – The Nevada Women’s Fund has named Heather “Lucky” Penney, a woman of aviation, as Keynote Speaker for the 2018 Nevada Women’s Fund Women of Achievement Luncheon. This year’s Luncheon is scheduled for Thursday, May 24 at Grand Sierra Resort in the Grand Ballroom from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. and serves as a recognition event for women in the region for their professional, personal, and community achievements.

Heather grew up in aviation and warbirds and always dreamed of being a fighter pilot – before women could be fighter pilots. During her undergraduate studies, she continued to pursue her passion for aviation and formed and raced in the first collegiate air race team to compete in the Air Race Classic, an annual transcontinental air race for female pilots. While studying for her Masters of Arts at Purdue University, she learned that Congress had opened combat aviation to women, and she quickly joined the Air National Guard to become part of the first wave of women who went directly into fighters from pilot training.

“This year’s Women of Achievement event will highlight those who have reinvested and remained in our northern Nevada to enrich our community. Once a resident of Sparks, attending Lloyd Diedrichson Elementary and Sparks Middle School, we look forward to hearing Heather’s story of patriotism, strength, and grit,” says Isabelle Wilson, President, and CEO of the Nevada Women’s Fund. “We are so proud of women from our northern Nevada region that go on to exceptional accomplishment.” Honorees of the Women of Achievement Luncheon will participate in an uplifting, motivational session followed by the recognition luncheon.

Heather applied to the Air National Guard and earned her wings at ENJJPT, Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training, where she flew the T-37 and T-38. The first and only woman in the 121st Fighter Squadron, she deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom for initial combat operations as a night-time SCUD Hunter in the western deserts of Iraq, also supporting Special Operations Forces. On the morning of September 11, 2001, she went to work not knowing that she would be flying one of two jets tasked with finding and disabling United Flight 93. The only way to do that would have been to fly her F-16 directly into the plane. Heather was ready on that day to give her life for the country, not knowing at the time of takeoff that United Flight 93 had crashed attributed to the heroic act of the passengers aboard. After moving with her family to Colorado and now living in Virginia, Heather remains tied to the area through her love of northern Nevada, the high desert and Sierras, and her participation in the Reno Air Races.

Join us in celebrating another year of all that shines in our northern Nevada region. For more information about the Women of Achievement luncheon, including nominating an honoree, visitnevadawomensfund.org or call (775) 786-2335.


About the Nevada Women’s Fund

Established in 1982 the Nevada Women’s Fund (NWF) has been supporting women and families through the allocation of education scholarships to help northern Nevada women increase their chances for a self-sufficient future. NWF works to identify the issues that affect Nevada’s women and families and facilitate solution by recognizing and celebrating the outstanding achievements of women in our communities and providing them with the resources they need to become community leaders.


Media Contact:
Mikaila Bird, The Glenn Group

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