Former SMCH Resident Training to Become an Astronaut

Sevierville, TN–In 2015, a young man by the name of Andrew Webb-Huffington was brought to the campus of the Church of God’s Smoky Mountain Children’s Home. It would become his home away from home for approximately 15 months…

During his time at SMCH, he struggled with motivation and almost gave up on his education. He was angry and would often punch holes in the walls of the cottage. However, it was his house parent, Mr. Pat Bressler, who provided encouragement to Andrew and challenged him to make something of his life.

Andrew remembers Mr. Pat saying, “We can help 100 kids, but if one makes it, then it is all worth it!” Suddenly a lightbulb went off…something clicked for Andrew. His life seemed to be forever changed. Andrew also gives recognition to Brandon Bohannon, as well as James Graham for influencing his life. These were his direct care staff members.

Instead of failing in school, he started applying himself and started studying. He graduated from the SMCH campus school referred to as Alpha. After leaving SMCH, he joined the army for three years.

Fast forward to 2024, the trajectory of Andrew Webb’s life has taken a turn for the good…for himself and for others. Now, he is training to become an astronaut. He understands it is a long road ahead.

Andrew is a graduate of the International Institute for Astronautical Sciences (IIAS) where he trained and studied astronautics with a focus on noctilucent cloud formations. Also, he has become the first American to complete the P.A.D.I. Astronaut Diver Distinctive Training.

Andrew’s instructor at the International Institute for Astronautical Sciences, Chris Lundeen stated, “I have nothing but good things to say about Andrew. Andrew is always working. He is the right generation for this training. He is one of those shining people who can make things happen. Andrew is so motivated!” In a few months, Andrew will be joining with a national research team in Canada. And we join Chris Lundeen in saying, Andrew has been and will be successful.

Andrew recently spoke at the SMCH All Staff Meeting, which included all campus residents. He challenged the residents to never give up on their dreams, sharing that overcoming challenges is a choice. Andrew plans to continue this conversation with the residents through individual cottage meetings.

(Source: Patty Higgenbottom. [email protected])

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