Two weeks after WNCC aviation students Yemin An and Zhaoxin Chen were killed in an accident at the Western Nebraska Community College Sidney campus, the college announced a memorial service will be held at 3 p.m., Saturday, April 17 at the Elk’s Lodge #1894 in Sidney.
An, 21, of Seoul, South Korea, and Chen, 24, of Xi’an, China, were killed during hands-on instruction as they worked on an airplane engine inside the aviation maintenance facility in Sidney on April 1, according to information previously released by the college. The two sophomores were later identified by Cheyenne County Coroner’s office personnel.
An and Chen both began their collegiate studies in 2019 at WNCC and both became involved in the campus community.
An enrolled as an aviation student at the Sidney campus where he was an active member of Phi Theta Kappa - Alpha Rho Omicron chapter and the Aviation Voc-Air student organization.
Chen began his studies at the Scottsbluff campus before enrolling in the aviation program offered in Sidney. He was also a member of the Phi Theta Kappa - Alpha Rho Omicron chapter and the Aviation Voc-Air student organization.
The public is asked to wear facial coverings to the service and maintain social distancing. WNCC officials ask the public to refrain from wearing red or pink attire to honor the families’ traditions and customs.
“We have received an outpouring of support from the community over the last two weeks,” WNCC President Carmen Simone said in a press release. “It’s been an incredibly difficult time for so many. As we move forward, I am grateful to our foundation for their willingness to work alongside us in meeting the critical needs of our aviation students. I can’t thank the community enough for their support.”
WNCC has also established a memorial fund to support aviation students. The Aviation Memorial Fund will support current aviation students with unexpected expenses, such as travel, counseling services, living expenses and other additional needs as instruction was paused following April 1.
Remaining funds will be used to establish a scholarship in memory of An and Chen, according to WNCC’s website. For more information on the fund, visit wncc.edu/community/foundation.