Mom’s scholarship fund keeps military son’s legacy alive

Filed under FLGR-PALMCOAST

01_JerolineMcCarthy01Collecting food, cash and check donations evoke memories that connect Cathy Heighter with her past. She’s a Gold Star Mother distinguished by losing a child in military service.

Pfc. Raheen Heighter, a 22-year-old infantryman when his convoy came under fire, was killed in Iraq in 2003. Raheen’s mom became an advocate/fund-raiser for military families and families of fallen heroes.

140109_dt_palmcoast01Heighter was working in her hair salon in Bay Shore, NY, when she learned from a military liaison the fate of Raheen. Heighter’s son was promoted posthumously to corporal.

She organized the Suffolk County Forum Scholarship Fund – which is undergoing restructuring – as Raheen’s legacy to award college scholarships to graduating students. Raheen joined the military for a chance to get a college education.

Notwithstanding, Congressman Steven Israel (D-NY), on Heighter’s behalf, introduced a bill to be named for Raheen in 2003, offering a $100,000 death benefit without cost. The bill passed through lawmakers under the Blanket Bill of the Heroes Act on May 5, 2005. The $250,000 maximum at the time increased to a $400,000 death benefit with a no-pay premium from servicemen.

Heighter, now a sales associate with Coldwell Banker Premier Properties, partnered with the firm on a Christmas food drive for veterans.

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Partnered with veterans and AMI Kids
Food, cash and check donations were collected at the real estate offices in Palm Coast, Ormond Beach, St. Augustine, and the World Golf Village.

More than 600 pounds of food were packed at Chapter 86 of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) of Flagler Beach for disabled veterans in need. Canned and boxed goods contained $25 gift certificates for the veterans’ use toward perishable items.

The chapter takes in all of Flagler County.

“The commander and the assistant picked up boxes from the office. The food drive was very successful,” said Heighter. “I am still remembering and honoring my son and all of our fallen heroes.”

Heighter tied in the AMI Kids of Volusia County, who collected canned and boxed goods for the Christmas Food Drive. The facility is located on Mason Avenue in Daytona Beach.

According to their website, they are part of a 50-program network, dedicated to providing community kids with opportunities to transform into responsible young adults. AMI Kids are offered promising futures through positive, motivating programs that inspire learning, leadership and personal growth.

Heighter mentioned that Executive Director Robert Kennedy telephoned after reading about the food drive.

“He thought it was a good project for the kids to give back to the community,” she said.

Heighter is an entrepreneurial hairstylist featured in my Dec. 19 article.

“I enjoy learning, continuing to grow, and educating myself,” said Heighter. “In a nutshell, I love life and what it has to offer.”

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Flagler NAACP to host awards luncheon
The Flagler County NAACP Awards Luncheon has been set for Jan. 18, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Palm Coast Yacht Club.

Event coordinator Marie Winston McCray announces that NAACP members assigned to the office detail will be honored at the luncheon.

Choose a favorite from the menu of chicken parmesan, London broil, or baked salmon.

The ticket price is $35. For tickets, call the NAACP at 386-446-7822.

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New York retirees schedule King service
Chapter #2 of the New York City Transit Retirees of Florida, helmed by Marie Winston McCray, will present their annual ecumenical service, honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Jan. 20, 11 a.m., at First Baptist Church, 6050 Palm Coast Parkway NW, Palm Coast.

The Hon. Hubert L. Grimes, who defied racial barriers as the first African-American judge elected in Volusia County, will be the keynote speaker.

This year’s theme is titled, “Unfulfilled Dreams.” Music will be provided by the Community Chorus with Director Linda Hodges. The public is invited.

To verify further details, contact McCray at 386-986-4847.

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Museum to host jazz concert
The North East Florida Jazz Association (NEFJA) will present saxophone legend/be-bop pioneer Lou Donaldson with jazz keyboardist Doug Carn and drummer John Lumpkin.

They will perform Jan. 19, 2:30 p.m., at the Museum of Arts and Sciences, 352 South Nova Road, Daytona Beach.

Tickets are $30 for members; $35, non-members. To purchase tickets, contact Muriel McCoy at 386-445-1329. To purchase on line, log on at NEFJA.org.

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Food giveaway set for Jan. 11
The Women’s Missionary Society of First Church – the Rev. Gillard S. Glover, Pastor – has scheduled the monthly food giveaway for Jan. 11, 1-3 p.m., at 91 Old Kings Road North, Palm Coast For more information, call 386-446-5759.

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As always, remember our prayers for the sick, afflicted and bereaved.

Celebrations
Birthday wishes to Miriam Pincham in Charlotte, N.C., Jan. 10; Marva Jones, Jan. 11.
Happy anniversary to the Rev. Woodrow and Gloria Leeks, Jan. 10.

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