He’s wanted to fly since he could remember. Now, this Fallon graduate has two flying gigs. One delivers our packages and the other defends our nation.
Anthony Tisdale graduated from Churchill County High School in 2009. He went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Nevada, and a law degree from Brigham Young University before joining the military as a fighter pilot.
“Churchill County was absolutely amazing as it offered me the unique opportunity to explore many hobbies and career paths that interested me,” Anthony said. “It also offers a unique rural lifestyle that allows kids to be kids while learning values, hard work, and independence.”
While in high school, Anthony was a three-sport athlete -- football, basketball, and track and field -- and was involved in the Fallon Police Explorers, Community Coalition, and National Honor Society.
“My highlight from high school was the tremendous contributions of my sports coaches who taught me the meaning of hard work and sacrifice,” said Anthony. “Coach Hill was a big motivator and very important role model at that time in my life.”
Anthony lived in Fallon while completing his degree from UNR. He worked for the District Attorney’s Office, attended the Sheriff's Academy, became a reserve Sheriff, and began flying airplanes.
“Choosing to live in Fallon was fulfilling an obligation to myself to pursue my passions,” Anthony said. “I really liked law enforcement and I really thought I wanted to go to law school. Working at the DA’s office was great because of exposure to the cop and lawyer world. Plus, I had great mentors around me.”
After graduating from UNR, Anthony attended BYU’s J. Reuben Clark Law School on a full-ride scholarship. While pursuing his studies, Anthony also earned commercial pilot certificates and flew as a contract corporate pilot on the weekends.
“I enjoyed my law school experience,” said Anthony. “Even if you do not want to become a lawyer, I encourage people who want to be a leader within their organizations to consider law school.”
Halfway through his law education, an opportunity to become a military fighter pilot became available. Anthony scheduled a meeting with the Dean and created a plan to finish his degree early. By taking on a heavier course load, Anthony completed law school in two and a half years and pursued a lifetime goal.
“As soon as I graduated law school in December 2015, I packed up my truck and drove straight to air force pilot training in Oklahoma,” Anthony said. “I’ve been flying in the air force ever since.”
Anthony currently works two jobs: he is a part-time F-15C pilot in the Louisiana Air National Guard in New Orleans, LA., and is a 767 pilot for FedEx based out of Memphis, TN.
“A blessing in disguise was COVID,” said Anthony. “That essentially caused the passenger carriers to furlough pilots and the shipping pilots to be hired like crazy.”
When asked about what his dream career is, Anthony said “the sky is the limit.” He mentioned flying fighters for the air force was always a dream and that he is now living it. Anthony also shared that he would like to continue being a mentor for high school students and young professionals interested in similar passions.
“I’ve realized mentoring is twenty times more rewarding than anything I’ve been able to do myself because you are able to pass it on,” said Anthony. “Ultimately, I’d like to wind up in a position where I can help other people achieve their dreams, similar to what my Fallon mentors were able to be for me.”
When asked about what advice he has for high school students, Anthony encouraged students to avoid negative self-talk, to be honest about what interests them, and to never limit themselves by what others say they should do. He noted Steve Job’s famous Stanford commencement speech as a source of inspiration when pursuing multiple passions and living life to its fullest.
“In my case, I had many interests and the only way to figure out which one I wanted to turn into a career was to pursue them all,” said Anthony. “It has been a busy 12 years since high school graduation but I am so thankful that I have pushed to experience so much and find my path. The details will come together later. The dots always connect looking backward, never looking forwards.”
When asked if he would like to personally thank anyone from Fallon, Anthony said he could come up with a list of one hundred people. He noted some of his mentors including Tom Stockard, Mike Richards, Ben Trotter, Jerry Frey, and Walt Reed.
“I’d like to thank our Fallon community for their support and all the life lessons you distilled to me growing up. I encourage those mentoring others to keep doing so. You never know who you are going to inspire!”
Anthony’s mother, Rochelle Tisdale, lives in Fallon and is the high school principal for Oasis Academy. His grandparents, Lee and Pat Tisdale are both retired and also live in Fallon. His brother, Dalton Kaady is attending UNR and pursuing a career as a musician.
Where are they now is a collaborative series brought to you by LEAD On, a local nonprofit with the mission to prepare students for life after high school. This story was written and produced by Garrett Kalt.
This interview was conducted over Zoom and is packaged into a two-minute video.