Tuskegee Airmen Host Annual Scholarship Dinner
(Story and Photos of Scholarship Recipients and Community Service Award by Stephan Wilkinson, Maj. Gen. Irene Trowell-Harris Chapter, Tuskegee Airmen
Photo Featured Above shows 12 scholarship winners plus Maj. Gen. [ret.] Irene Trowell-Harris at far left and Colonel Fraser at far right.)
The New Windsor-based Maj. Gen. Irene Trowell-Harris Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen awarded $14,000 in tuition-assistance grants at its 22nd Annual Dinner-Dance on February 8, at a glittering Anthony’s Pier 9 gala affair that resounded with music, dance and the renewals of old friendships. Over the past 22 years, the local Tuskegee Airmen chapter, one of 55 throughout the country, has disbursed more than $230,000 in scholarships to academically excellent high schoolers from the Hudson Valley region. Having raised funds that amassed a $275,000 (and growing) endowment fund to support these awards, the scholarships are now assured of being continued in perpetuity. At last week’s dinner, the scholarships that were assigned included ten for $1,000 plus two special $2,000 awards.
One of the chapter’s missions is to support the continuation of the legacy of the original World War II Tuskegee Airmen, who were the first and only African American pilots and ground personnel to see combat during that era of severely segregated U. S. armed forces. Members of this chapter present history talks at a wide variety of area schools, churches, libraries, youth groups and other gathering places.
The chapter’s major efforts, however, go into its youth-mentoring and aviation-education programs, intended to make the world aware of the original Airmen’s contributions to both the war and the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s so the word will be carried to future generations by today’s young people. The Trowell-Harris Chapter offers the Lee A. Archer Red Tail Youth Flying Program with a three-hour aviation class every Monday at Stewart Airport, plus a Saturday-morning program of three classes at the Newburgh Armory Unity Center, and a five-day summer aviation camp every July.
The Tuition-Assistance gala also saw the granting of the chapter’s annual community service award to Heather Howley, owner, CEO and chief pilot of Independent Helicopters, a rapidly growing charter and flight-training operation based at New York Stewart Airport, with a subsidiary enterprise at Saratoga Springs, New York. Howley has nurtured the business from a single helicopter to a fleet of six, with a seventh aircraft, a turbine-powered Bell 206, soon to join the fleet.
Trowell-Harris Chapter President Col. [ret.] Glendon Fraser and community-service award winner Heather Howley.
The Trowell-Harris Chapter’s dinner was sponsored by Atlantic Aviation, Spencer’s Financial, Redbird Simulators, American Express, United Air Lines and JetBlue Airways.
JR ROTC Photo by Bob McCormick