Eric’s career started as a Sears National Management Trainee in Orlando FL. After training, he worked as a Store Sales Manager in two different field assignments. After a rapid promotion to the Home Office in Hoffman Estates, IL, Eric worked as a Merchandise Analyst, and was later promoted to Associate Buyer in the Home Store Division. He left Sears and joined Parisian Stores (a former division of Saks Inc.) and was the Buyer for “Hard Home Division” in Birmingham, AL. Eric and Terri moved to Florida to care for family where Eric founded and managed his own aviation retail, pilot services and training company, Aviation Essentials, Inc. (now closed).
Eric is married to Terri Eros, a graduate of King University, Bristol, TN where she earned a BA in Economics. Terri has over 35 years of experience in retail store management, buying, specializing in store startups and remodels. Terri is currently retired and enjoys exploring her new passion for painting and travel.
Eric’s daughter Erica received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education (magna cumme laude) from the University of Tennessee, and served as a squad leader in the “Pride of the Southland Marching Band.” Erica received a Master’s Degree in Music at the University of Tennessee.
Eric earned a Master of Divinity degree from the School of Theology, University of the South, Sewanee, TN. He served as Student Body President for the School of Theology during his time of study and formation.
Eric completed professional flight training at both Naples Air Center and (former) Ambassador Airways in 2000-2001.
He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, TN.
Eric’s ministry experience includes both diocesan and parish level service as a priest in the Episcopal Church. Eric serves today as the Canon to the Ordinary for the Diocese of Oklahoma. He has served as Canon for Ministry Development for the Diocese of Southwest Florida (2013-2018). Eric served the Episcopal Church as President of the Board for the Conference of Diocesan Executives (2015-2016).
His parish experience included serving as Rector of St. Monica’s Episcopal Church, Naples, FL and Rector of St. David’s Episcopal Church, Englewood, Florida, as well as Parish Administrator/Lay Minister for Lamb of God Lutheran Episcopal Church, Fort Myers, FL (2005-2007). Canon Eric served as Dean of the Naples Deanery, member of the Standing Committee, member of Diocesan Council (2010-2012), Deputy to the 2018 General Convention, and member of the Evangelism and Church Planting Committee for the 2018 General Convention.
Eric holds the following licenses and ratings: Commercial Pilot (Multi/Single Engine, Instrument, Land, Airplane; Certified Flight Instructor (Single Engine, Instrument); Ground Instructor (Advanced), and UAS Pilot certificates. Eric’s love of aviation began at the young age of 15, when he started flight training at a small airport in Morristown, TN. Eric’s first instructor was aviation legend and flight instructor Evelyn Bryan Johnson. Eric made his first solo flight on his 16th birthday, earned his private pilot certificate two years later, and he has cultivated a love of all things aviation since that time.
Eric began formal professional flight training in Naples, FL in 2000. Beginning his initial training in the early summer of 2000, and by that fall he had earned an instrument rating, commercial pilot certificate, multi-engine rating, and Certified Flight Instructor certificate. Later with additional training, he added an instrument rating to his CFI certificate. Eric has over 35 years of experience as a pilot and nearly two decades of experience as a flight instructor.
Eric has been designated by the Federal Aviation Administration as a Gold Seal Flight Instructor for his professional, high quality approach to instruction. Eric has represented the broader aviation community serving as a FAASTeam Representative for the Miami FAA FSDO. Eric has logged over 1,850 hours of flight time and over 1,300 hours as a flight instructor. Eric is a member of the “National Association Of Flight Instructors” NAFI.
CIVIL AIR PATROL – USAF Auxiliary
Eric joined the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program in 1979 and served until 1987. He took a hiatus from the program until 1999, when he re-joined the USAF Auxiliary and he has served actively ever since. As a cadet, Chaplain Cooter served in multiple leadership positions both in his local squadron and as a member of Wing staff at Tennessee Wing Headquarters. Chaplain Cooter was awarded the General Carl A. Spaatz award in 1984 and was promoted to the rank of Cadet Colonel.
In 2017, Eric received the Gill Robb Wilson Award , the pinnacle achievement for senior member professional development, and now holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Chaplain Cooter served as Southeast Region Chaplain overseeing the Chaplain Corps for the following Wings: Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, and served as the Florida Wing Chaplain prior to this assignment. After a move to Oklahoma in 2020, Chaplain Cooter transferred to Southwest Region HQ and served as Deputy Region Chaplain.
In September 2021, Chaplain Cooter was appointed Deputy Chief of Chaplains of CAP Chaplain Corps and serves on NHQ Staff. Chaplain Cooter continues to actively fly missions as a Mission SAR/DR (Search and Rescue) Pilot, Instructor Pilot, Cadet Orientation Pilot, and serves as a Mission Pilot Check Pilot.
In 2020, the Military Chaplains Association (MCA) awarded Chaplain Cooter the Distinguished Chaplain Award for his service in Civil Air Patrol. Cooter was also named the 2015 Florida Wing Senior Chaplain of the Year and 2015 Southeast Region Senior Chaplain of the Year. Detailed Bio click here
Eric authored “A Pilot’s Logbook: A memoir of aviation adventures” a compilation of short stories about some of his flying adventures. Eric writes, “My hope is that this collection of memories will entertain, inspire, and offer encouragement.”
Eric authored “Misfits, Pioneers, and Mission” a book about his ministry journey. His book is a call to the church to renew her focus on local mission, to embrace engaging hospitality, to develop nimble/flexible formation opportunities, and to explore creative and entrepreneurial approaches to evangelism in the 21st century.
Eric also loves to write short stories about aviation and is a content creator on YouTube, publishing videos about some of his flying adventures.