Walk through the home of Ted Judd and you’ll see walls and shelves lined with letters from governors and senators, DVDs of movies in which he acted, even an airline pilot’s uniform signed by dozens of friends. These mementos point to just a few of the amazing accomplishments Judd has been a part of – but more than that, they highlight the tremendous impact he has had in the lives of so many people.
An airline pilot for more than 20 years, Judd is widely considered an aviation expert and advocate for flight safety. Throughout his impressive career, he has had the privilege of testifying before Congress on airline safety, being named an official Captain of Industry by the U.S. Senate and being selected to take part in a special Congressional task force investigating the crash of Air Florida Flight 90 in Washington D.C.
Judd also considers himself a world traveler, a passion boosted by his eight years in the U.S. Merchant Marines. He has visited more than 100 countries and every continent – his friends often jokingly refer to him as “bipolar” because he visited both the North and South poles in a single year.
Between Ted and his wife Barbara (herself a former Silver Star Award recipient), the Judds have been a part of seemingly every volunteer organization in Tallahassee. His many activities range from founding the Democratic Club of North Florida to initiating the Tallahassee Police Department’s Handicap Parking Patrol (where he volunteered for 15 years) to serving on the Board of Directors of the Lighthouse of the Big Bend.
One memory that stands out in Judd’s memory came from his time volunteering at the Tallahassee Museum’s Discovery Center, where he and his wife introduced many of the center’s unique animals to visiting students. When told that Ted was a volunteer, one student asked what that meant. Ted responded by saying that a volunteer is someone who works for free, and the young boy responded that volunteers must be either very rich or very stupid.
In Ted Judd’s case, it was his willingness to serve others that made them rich.