South Kitsap female pilot recognized by YWCA

South Kitsap resident Leslie Reynolds-Taylor is among 10 honorees who were recognized at the 25th Annual Women of Achievement Recognition Luncheon held April 22 at the Kitsap Convention Center at Bremerton Harborside.

Reynolds-Taylor, a pilot with United Parcel Service for 26 years, said she was surprised by her selection.

“I was both honored by the nomination and unanimous selection process,” said Reynolds-Taylor, who is a captain of a Boeing 757 and Boeing 767.  “I am honored and humbled by the award.”

Reynolds-Taylor said she found out about the award on March 24 after she came home from Reno after 36 hours without sleep.

She was nominated by her brother, Jeff Reynolds, who also lives in South Kitsap.

Reynolds-Taylor, with encouragement from her son Zachary, helped form the South Kitsap Skate Park Association. In seven years, the group raised more than $100,000. The skate park opened in June 2013.

She is actively involved with the Port Orchard Rotary Club.

Reynolds-Taylor received an award for her heroism in 1984 by the National Order of the Daedalinas, an esteemed group of aviators in the military.

“They very seldom honor a civilian group,” she said, adding, "They usually honor a branch of the military.”

During a flight on a Beech 1900 leaving Spokane, Reynolds-Taylor was serving as a co-pilot with Cascade Airway. Shortly after takeoff,  a fire broke out and heavy black smoke filled the cockpit.

“The airplane was brand new,” she said. “We caught fire at 400 feet and we called the tower and told them we needed to return. Because we didn’t have enough altitude to get rid of the smoke in the cockpit, the only way I could get rid of the smoke was to open a window.”

The plane landed and the fire was extinguished. The plane was filled with smoke.

“After we landed, I went back to open the emergency exit,” Reynolds-Taylor said. “The passengers didn’t say a word the whole time.”

There were nine passengers on board the plane at the time of the fire.

The event is sponsored by the YWCA of Kitsap County. Kathleen Donahue, retired Kitsap County Superior Court investigator, is this year’s guest speaker.

Others honored were Mary Nadar, director of North Kitsap Fishline; Jennifer Zuver, president of the Silverdale Chamber of Commerce; Rebekah Uhtoff, founder and vice president of Bremerton Beyond Accessible Play; Monica Blackwood, principal/director of administration at Rice Fergus Miller; Charleen Burnette, manager of BKAT; Charlene Edmond, advocate of ALIVE Shelter; Jennifer Forbes, Superior Court judge; Jamie Haywood, community volunteer and Carol Johnson the owner of The Styling Nook Hair Salon.

Amy Burnett was the first person honored as a YWCA Woman of Achievement in 1989 for her tireless work for both our community and guaranteeing the future of YWCA in Kitsap County.

After some challenging financial times during the 1980s, when the YWCA was close to having to cease operations, Burnett stepped forward with a special commissioned painting.

Burnett sold prints of her artwork; as a result, desperately needed proceeds poured into the YWCA. Her vision escorted YWCA to a secure financial footing and YWCA was able to keep the doors open at both the ALIVE Shelter and to our entire community.

Since 1989, Kitsap community members have nominated and honored more than 300 extraordinary women.


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