Tuskegee Airmen host annual scholarship dinner

Ret. Major General Irene Trowell-Harris on left and Retired Colonel Glendon Fraser on right with 12 honorees.

NEW WINDSOR – 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 last week at a gala at Anthony’s Pier 9 complete 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 fundraised a $275,000 and growing endowment fund to support these awards, the scholarships are now assured of being continued in perpetuity. At the most recent dinner, 12 scholarships were assigned, ten of them 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.  The chapter members do this by presenting 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 Airmens’ contributions to both the war and the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s: 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 charter and flight-training operation based at New York Stewart Airport, with a subsidiary enterprise in Saratoga Springs.  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.

Retired Colonel Glendon Fraser with 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.

If you would like to schedule a Tuskegee Airmen presentation for your community group, visit the chapter website at www.tai-ny.com or call 845 838-7848.

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