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Our Kaiser family was assigned in early 2014 to Scott Air Force Base, Illinois for what we knew would be the final assignment of Blair's 20-year active duty military career. We quickly decided that a longer work commute from this side of the river would be worthwhile sacrifice to recapture the walkable urban lifestyle we had enjoyed in a tiny Capitol Hill, DC rowhouse from 2004-2011. Cross-referencing public school rankings (and without realizing how tight Clayton's real estate market is!) Blair's finger literally landed on historic DeMun on a map due to it's easy 64/40 east-west access and proximity to Forest Park. After stumbling quite luckily onto the very initial stages of a speculative duplex renovation on San Bonita Avenue, the ensuing four years has been a wonderful story of our final military assignment becoming our "forever neighborhood."
From the outpouring of new neighbor support (e-mails before we had even moved from Wyoming) to the outstanding welcome from the Ralph M. Captain community, the true Midwest character here has shone through from so many Ward One residents. When Blair retired and took a position as a United Airlines pilot, the default expectation was on a move to a company hub city like Chicago, Denver, or D.C. to eliminate his work commutes. But for us the choice had in short order become a relatively simple one: there was no way we could replicate the comfortable combination of our close-knit community, proximity to major urban cultural offerings, and our young childrens' enrollment in the #4 ranked public school district in the nation. We were now Missourians.
Today, our routine--like yours--is a sometimes chaotic but extremely gratifying one. Girl Blair or "GB" (yes we share the same first name!) has a non-profit background tracing to her Peace Corps Tour (Ivory Coast '01-'02) and subsequent work as an African Country Desk Officer with both Peace Corps Headquarters and Heifer Project International. During the '04-'10 time frame, in the midst of welcoming three children and managing six military deployments, GB transitioned into the more portable nursing field by turning a BA in French into an RN/BSN degree. She began her nursing career as a BSN in the St. Louis University Hospital Operating Room and today works in the same capacity at Mercy St. Louis Hospital.
The Kaiser brood can usually be found on the old CBC-turned-Wash U. athletic field, RMC blacktop or roaming the Ward One neighborhoods. After two blissful years with three kids at one school, Evan (12) is now a 6th grader at Wydown Middle School. He and his brother Alex (10yr old 4th grader) are effectively soccer zombies between Clayton Rec, St. Louis Scott Gallagher, and FIFA '18 Xbox battles. Their indomitable little sister Carter (7yr old 2nd grader) loves reading, art, and is trying out both soccer and basketball this academic year. Our 1.5 yr old golden retriever Beau rounds out the family and we're sincerely sorry if he has jumped up to say hello!
Blair Kaiser is originally from Staunton, Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley and left for basic training at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Summer '92 at the ripe old age of 17. In '96 he earned a B.S. Political Science with academic distinction (>3.6 GPA), was commissioned an Air Force Second Lieutenant and was selected for Undergraduate Pilot Training. During his twenty year career he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel as a Command Pilot amassing over 4,000 hours flying the Lockheed C-130 Hercules and Boeing C-40B (737). Other academic degrees include an M.S. International Relations (Troy State University, AL) and graduation from Squadron Officer School (Distinguished Graduate) as well as Air Command and Staff College.
Blair's notable assignments included selection for Instructor Pilot duty at the 89th Airlift Wing, Andrews AFB, MD, where he served as Pilot-in-Command for the Vice President of the United States and other national leaders as well as a subsequent tour of duty on the Air Staff at The Pentagon. He deployed eight times after 9/11 to Southwest Asia, culminating with selection as a C-130 Squadron Commander at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan in 2013; there his 103 Airmen executed over 3,000 combat airlift sorties on a 24/7 tempo redeploying soldiers out of austere Forward Operating Bases without a single casualty.
Upon retiring in 2016, Blair joined United Airlines where he currently serves as a Boeing 737 pilot based out of Washington, D.C. In the local community, he serves as an informal Block Captain for the 6400's block San Bonita Avenue having created a shared online registry that facilitates important safety information and public issues of concern as well as community esprit. He has been active with Clayton Rec youth sports serving as both a 3rd grade soccer head coach and recently a soccer & basketball assistant. Blair and his family are members of The Church of St. Michael & St. George in Ward One.
Safe, vibrant and walkable neighborhoods are intrinsic to the character of Ward One. Supporting our skilled Clayton First Responders and promoting effective community policing solutions to solve even petty crimes is integral to our quality of life.
Build upon Clayton School District national accolade via strong support for/close working ties with our elected Board of Education members and protection of school funding streams.
Keen oversight of your hard-earned tax dollar across the range of Aldermanic nodes in the Clayton Budget Process; careful analysis of changes and trends in budgetary revenue and expenditure projections as presented by the City Manager and Department Directors.
Preserve our Hi-Pointe DeMun National Historic District while also exploring initiatives to ensure small-business vitality.
Oversee an equitable and well-executed Ward One infrastructure upgrade as part of Clayton's ongoing Capital Improvement Fund street and sidewalk repair plans.
Work to build the community spirit of our broad Ward One resident demographic by bringing together neighbors from all backgrounds and walks of life in assemblies from community issue forums to social activities.
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