FAMILY, FRIENDS OF LATE PILOT SET UP AVIATION SCHOLARSHIP

anguillian
By anguillian August 15, 2016 10:47

 

 

Attired mainly in pink outfits, a large number of family and friends in Anguilla, St. Martin/St. Maarten, St. Thomas, St. Croix, and mainland United States, have been in Anguilla not only for a reunion, but to launch a scholarship fund for some lucky person(s) wishing to study aviation.

The family members and friends held their first event on Saturday, July 30, when they attended a fund-raising dinner at the locally-owned and luxurious Sheriva Boutique Hotel. There, Ms. Marcia Hodge, a member of the family, told The Anguillian that the late Captain Kirby Hodge intended to establish some form of aviation undertaking but was unable to fulfil his desire as a result of his tragic death. Another brother, also a pilot, Captain Cardigan (Cardy), died from natural causes in 2011. A year later, in October, 2012, Kirby died when his plane went down while travelling to St. Thomas from St. Croix; and in December, 2012, yet another brother, Clarendon, passed away. A niece died in a car crash in St. Thomas a few months ago and there have been other family misfortunes of illness.

“Everybody knows that Cardy and Kirby were the pilots of the family, but we lost both of them,” Marcia said. “Kirby wanted to have something like a flight training school. Now, after his passing, we want to maintain the legacy of our two pilot brothers so we have decided to start a scholarship fund. Kirby was not just about flying. You had to be well-dressed; you had to be on time and respectful. He was jovial and wanted his passengers to be comfortable. The family is just trying to remember those who have died and wants to pray for those family members among us who are ill.

“What we are trying to do now is to raise US$50,000 each year to offer a scholarship – not only to aspiring Anguillian aviators, but in the Caribbean region as well. They would have to apply for the scholarship, write and defend an essay about the qualities of an aviator and why they think they should receive the scholarship. We will either have them send in their essays or come and present them before a panel of judges. The successful candidates would be informed about their acceptance via email, given time to accept the offer of the scholarship and then begin their training. That is what Kirby wanted to do.”

Asked about the raising of funds for the scholarship, Marcia said each family member and friend was sent an invitation to the dinner and paid for it online as his or her first contribution to the fund. “Our aim is to have an initial US$50,000 so that we can offer our first scholarship,” she explained. “We are hoping that between now and next year, when we will have our second annual event, that we will be able to offer our first scholarship.”
In addition to the launch of the scholarship fund, there have been a number of family reunion activities which included attending a church service and a traditional get-together at the late family’s home at Island Harbour.

 

 

 

Honoring My Brothers, My Two Legends:
Reflection by Sheridan Smith

 

On Saturday, July 30, 2016 our family launched an initiative that we hope will become a globally recognized annual event. It was the first of its kind on Anguilla and we used our cohesive nature to “test the waters”, so to speak. What exactly did we do? We developed an idea to host a gala dinner event at Sheriva Luxury Villas and Suites to honor our two dearly departed brothers, Captain Kirby Hodge and Captain Cardigan Hodge, who also resided in the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico respectively, by creating a scholarship fund for the youth of Anguilla who wish to pursue careers in the field of aviation. This black-tie affair was attended by myriad family members and close friends from Anguilla and around the world. It was a total success and now it is time for us to share this on a national and international level.

We collectively decided that the best way to honor the memories of the two extraordinary pilots was to take their selfless love of aviation and keep it alive by blessing other persons with an opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills that Cardy and Kirby so gallantly possessed. I recall my brothers’ selfless sacrifices. They flew sick or dying patients all over the Caribbean and North America at a moment’s notice. The service they provided was not all about money. They were patriots in every sense of the word and aimed to make Anguilla and Anguillians proud of them. I recall their frustration at so many things in their very own homeland, things which seemed intentionally designed to systematically destroy their dreams, while yet valiantly giving of themselves no matter the cost – even at the ultimate cost.
My brothers meant the world to me. There are not enough words in the English dictionary, or any other language, for me to describe the pain deep inside my soul when I think about my three long gone brothers. The pain ebbs and flows, but never truly goes away. Today, we stand proud as the Smith-Hodge family continues to uplift their memories in a positive manner by simultaneously helping the community, as Kirby and Cardy found so much joy in doing.

My two sisters, Shirley Hodge-Ryan, a Human Resources trainer and retired banker, and Marcia Hodge, an English, Spanish and French teacher, will be heading up this historical initiative. As this was only the inaugural launch, we do plan to streamline this to the point where we will announce the next gala event publicly and integrate technological advances so that persons around the globe who wish to donate online to the scholarship fund, may do so at the click of a few buttons.

We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to all the family members and friends who worked tirelessly to make this a success. I would be remiss not to take the time to acknowledge a heartfelt vote of thanks to Anguilla’s very own Nat Hodge who has proven to be a priceless and dedicated family friend. We look forward to the support of the community at large to help us make this a success for generations to come.

(Published without editing by The Anguillian newspaper.)

anguillian
By anguillian August 15, 2016 10:47

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