NEW WINDSOR – The Maj. Gen. Irene Trowell-Harris Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen hosted its 20th Annual Tuition Assistance Awards Dinner on Saturday, at Anthony’s Pier 9.
Chapter President Glendon Fraser reflected upon the organizations platinum anniversary. “It was on February 7, 1998 that the organization presented three $750 scholarships under the watchful eyes of the chapter namesake, Major General Irene Trowell-Harris, 105th Airlift Wing Commander, Col. Thomas Maguire, seventeen original Tuskegee Airmen, a host of dignitaries and nearly 600 guests,” he stated.
On Saturday night, with the presentation of thirteen more honorees, they will have awarded more than $200,000 in scholarships to 203 college-bound seniors.
So too has the Lee Archer Red Tail Flying program, now in its 15th year, inspired a new generation of aviators, much like the original Tuskegee Airmen.
Some of those past scholarship recipients and Red Tail students returned and gave testimonials as to just how impactful and instrumental those much needed funds, and mentorship, have helped them in achieving their life goals.
Doniella McKoy stated that the Lee Archer Red Tail Flying program taught her that she wasn’t going to be good at everything the first time around. “That’s a lesson that made me strong and able to face the challenges of college…”
Brenee Robinson, a participant of the Red Tail Flying program, said of the experience, “It instilled into me that my future possibilities were limitless.” It also gave her great confidence. Several years ago she decided to leave her career as a CPA to become a fitness trainer and real estate investor. Making such a huge change in her career was not easy, however she felt confident in herself, thanks in part to the mentoring she receiving in the program.
Noelle McCoy said the flying program gave her a great introduction into her engineering program. “The flying program taught me the importance of organization and always being on time. This helped me to excel at my current job where I manage the largest single contract for the MTA at $2.6 billion. Thank you for everything you have done for me,” she stated.
For Fraser and members of the chapter, this is their way of giving back to the next generation. “We cannot forget why we are here tonight. The Tuskegee Airmen have been a personal epiphany for me. My life has changed as a result of knowing these great men and women. I walk with pride through terminals all over the world because I know that I stand on the shoulders of greatness. Without their bravery and paving the way, I could not be who I am today. This is the legacy we hope to impart on our young men and women.”
This year’s scholarship recipients were: Bram Corregan (Newburgh Free Academy); Ellyson Grant (Newburgh Free Academy); Antonio Galarza (Newburgh Free Academy); Kaylee Hernandez (Newburgh Free Academy); Bryce Hetherly (Wallkill High School); Casey Lynn McKnight (Newburgh Free Academy); Sydney Marino (Newtown High School); Bryan Moise (Paramus Catholic High School); Alexa Quispe (Central High School); Whitney Sarkodie (Newburgh Free Academy); Isneida Rosas (Newburgh Free Academy); Imani TelesFord Newburgh Free Academy); and Esther Thorne (Ramapo High School).