Register for your 8 free Gazette only stories Login | Register

Cadet who survived 200-foot fall gets his bars

In an intimate setting inside Arnold Hall at the Air Force Academy on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2009, Thomas Avolio joined a small group of fellow Air Force Academy graduates for a graduation ceremony and to be commissioned as an officer. Avolio, center, is helped by his sisters, Christina, far left, Anne Michelle, second from left, and his mother Barbara Ann, right, in receiving his new second lieutenant bars. Avoilo was severely injured in 2006 when he fell some 200 feet on Eagle Peak. If he wasn't injured he would have graduated in 2008. Photo by The Gazette, Bryan Oller