Tory Ridgeway’s dreams were dashed when the Navy rescinded his scholarship because of his autism diagnosis.
Tory Ridgeway’s dream for the last decade is to serve his country through participating in the military as an aero-space engineer. Tory is an Eagle Scout who graduated from high school this year with a 4.9 GPA.
Tory has an autism diagnois.
Tory was ecstatic to receive a full NROTC Scholarship from the United States Navy. His reaction was caught on video.
Tory’s autism was the focus of his admissions essay.
“He talked about how proud he was of all of his accomplishments as a child of autism,” said his mom, Vanessa Ridgeway.
The NROTC acceptance letter said the scholarship is contingent on several things, including being medically qualified.
Much to Tory and his family’s dismay, two months later the Navy unexpectedly rescinded their scholarship stating Torey’s autism diagnosis as the reason.
“It’s very difficult to just find something else when you’ve spend two-thirds of your life going for something and then right when you have it in your hand, it’s yanked away from you,” said Tory Ridgeway.
Vanessa Ridgeway says she is trying to understand the disconnect. Why they would admit him, knowing his diagnosis, only to reject him in the end.
“Never did we think, ‘oh, they didn’t pay attention to the fact he said he’s a child with autism and he’s overcome this.’ I was devastated, my husband was devastated,” she said.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University told WUSA9 it is not involved in the NROTC admissions process. Although the program is housed on their campus, the process is solely in the hands of the U.S. Navy.
Tory will still attend Embry-Riddle in the Fall. Because the scholarship has been rescinded he needs help with tuition.
You can also contact your United States representatives about discrimination about autism in the military.