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Lewisporte's kindness still being recognized with 9/11 scholarship

One of the latest students to be named a scholarship recipient is 18-year-old Abigail Cramm.  CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
One of the latest students to be named a scholarship recipient is 18-year-old Abigail Cramm. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
LEWISPORTE, N.L. —

When the world asked for help in the wake of 9/11 many towns including Lewisporte stepped forward to answer that call.

Raie Lene Kirby joined many community volunteers who helped out when 800 passengers were bused to the town after their flights were rerouted to Gander. 

A then-Grade 11 student at Lewisporte Collegiate, Kirby volunteered at St. Matthew’s United Church at the bottom of her street.

There she looked after the younger children when their parents needed a break. Others in the community helped with meals, laundry, and other services.

In particular, the kindness shown to the passengers of Delta Flight 15, which was headed to Atlanta, Ga from Germany, has not been forgotten.

The 218 passengers from that flight were among the 800 stranded people bused to Lewisporte.

The passengers spent the next three days in the community, and experienced incredible kindness as students and other community members volunteered their time to help them through a difficult moment.

When the passengers returned to their plane, they pledged to set up a trust fund — named after their flight, for the people of Lewisporte.

Quickly, close to $15,0000 was collected. The idea was to set up a post-secondary education scholarship for high school students in Lewisporte.

Raie Lene Kirby was one of the first recipients of the 9/11 scholarship when she graduated high school in 2002.
Raie Lene Kirby was one of the first recipients of the 9/11 scholarship when she graduated high school in 2002.

As it turns out, Kirby was one of the first recipients of that scholarship when she graduated in 2002.

“It wasn’t a huge amount (of money),” she said. “It meant more about the appreciation showed to the town and then a little bit of a boost, which was a great help.”

She would go on to a career in medicine.

The show of community displayed by Lewisporte during that time is perhaps the most important aspect of the scholarship.

It ties each student to a time when their community stepped up and demonstrated how a small town could affect positive change in the world.

In 2002, the scholarship was awarded to graduating students who achieved an average of 85 per cent across their high school careers.

The fund has continued to swell as donations keep rolling in.

The scholarship fund is now valued at over $1.5 million and has helped more than 150 students from Lewisporte Collegiate get started on their post-secondary education.

One of the latest students to be named a scholarship recipient is 18-year-old Abigail Cramm. 

She was awarded a scholarship last year along with 21 classmates at the school.

Cramm has no memory of the days that followed 9/11 since she was only month old at that time. Her parents were in Gander and volunteered there. Until she received the scholarship, Cramm's only connection to 9/11 was through them.

Now, she’s tied to the legacy of her hometown.

“It is pretty cool to be a part of this thing,” said Cramm. “It shows that we’re small but we’re mighty.

“It was (the passengers of Delta Flight 15's) way of giving back.”

nicholas.mercer@thecentralvoice.ca

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