Pilot gives lesson on soaring during NAACP awards luncheon


It was a launching of food from appetizers to shrimp with lobster and crab, and a keynote speech focusing on youth and aviation. 

The guests experienced the variety at a recent awards luncheon presented by the Flagler NAACP at Halifax Plantation. 

They discovered that the branch has come far doing great things in the community. 

“Not only to lend itself, but to grace us in many ways, and most importantly you – in this room – have been the backbone of their support,” said emcee John Winston. 

“I appreciate your presence in supporting the recipients of this year’s awards, awards for community service, to the branch, and the President’s Award to the most outstanding members of the branch,” said Branch President Linda Sharpe Matthews. 

The honorees 

Focusing on the underserved, the overlooked west side of the county, the Rev. Sims Jones received the Community Service Award.

He is a member of numerous organizations, serving as treasurer of the Flagler Area Ministerial Association (FAMA) and chairing the Religious Affairs Committee of the Flagler NAACP. 

Because the branch is doing well, First Vice President Barbara Goss received the Service to the Branch Award for 16 years of service. 

For 46 years as well, Ms. Goss was devoted to a career of foreign service. And, in the past, she has worked for the NAACP national office in New York, where civil rights icons Roy Wilkins, Thur-good Marshall and Medgar Evers shaped her future. 

In appreciation of service and dedication to the branch, James and Rose Griffin were the recipients of the President’s Award. 

Mr. Griffin was engaged in management at United Parcel Service (UPS) in New Zealand and Taiwan, and earlier was assigned as the Metro Detroit Air Manager. After a 32-year career, Mr. Griffin retired from UPS in the capacity of labor relations and hazardous material compliance. 

Mrs. Griffin has worked in private industry in human development, patent law, personnel training, and college recruitment of engineers and scientists. 

Pilots needed 

The affair was special, filled with panache, and keynote speaker Danny Fuqua sharing his mission of introducing aviation to the Black community. 

His message didn’t always mean flying planes but working as attorneys in aviation, as aircraft mechanics, aerospace engineers, air traffic controllers, flight attendants, and astronauts. 

He communicated that the major airlines at FedEx, UPS, United Airlines and Delta Airlines are hiring minorities. 

An investment opportunity of owning a plane allows it to be leased to a flight school, or to anyone interested in flying. He predicts a shortage of pilots for the succeeding years. 

The private pilot – board member of the Daytona/Flagler County Aviation Flight Academy and president of the Robert B. Griffith Chapter of the Black Pilots of America – encouraged the young members of the audience to learn to fly airplanes. 

The husband, father, and grandfather spoke of how kids in the White communities have access to their parents’ planes and showed his passion for flying planes early on in Edwards, Mississippi. 

He said that kids as young as 10 years old can train to fly airplanes, but you must be 17 years old to obtain a pilot’s license. 

Aviator, minister, mentor 

Fuqua earned a diploma of Practical Theology from the International Seminary in Plymouth and a Master of Business Administration from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

He’s a retired veteran of 29 years with the Florida Army National Guard and serves as copastor of Word and Praise Family Church in Daytona Beach. 

At a private pilot flight school, the cost would roughly be $10,000 to $13,000 from start to finish. 

“Going through the Black Pilots of America, what we do is we mentor,” said the aviator, “so that the cost can be cut in half because we teach for free the basic knowledge… We prepare you to take the written exam, and it is called ground school,” he continued. 

“The cost is going to be for your written exam because you have to go to a control area of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University…” which will be about $180, plus a charge to rent the plane, for fuel and a pilot, which will probably be $80 to $90 an hour. 

He said as long as the chapter has one of their own Black-certified instructors, the flight instructor’s fee can be waived. 

The aviator can be contacted if you would be actively engaged with your child’s training to fly an airplane. 

For more information, call 386-566-8914. Log on to the website at www.robertbgriffincentralfloridabpa.org.

Play to focus on biblical women 

“Women of the Bible,” an ecumenical play, will be presented Nov. 23, 3 p.m., at Palm Coast Community Center, 305 Palm Coast Parkway, N.E., Palm Coast. The charitable donation is $20 per person. 

To obtain further details, call Esther Hamilton at 386-447-4009. 

Free Thanksgiving dinner at First Church 

First Church will again host the community Thanksgiving event held in various locations throughout the county. 

The First Church Thanksgiving, under the Rev. Gillard S. Glover’s leadership, will be Nov. 27, 3 to 6 p.m., at 91 Old Kings Road North in Palm Coast. 

All are invited free of charge to partake in turkey and the trimmings. 


As always, remember our prayers for the sick, afflicted, the prodigal son, or daughter, and the bereaved. 


Belated birthday wishes to singer Alvin Bell, Nov. 7; Dotnella Singletary, Nov. 8; Phyllis McVay, Nov. 9; my sister-in-law, Blossom Coaxum of the Bronx, Nov. 10; and Sasha Delaney, Nov. 11. 

Birthday wishes to Shaunte’ White, Nov. 14; Mrs. Julia Mae Troutman Cherry, Nov. 16; Darrell DeVore, Nov. 18; William Blount, Brenda Pinkelton, Nov. 19; and Alicia Douglas, Nov. 20. 

Happy anniversary to Bill and Shirley Day, Nov. 16. A belated anniversary to Richard and Rose Williams, Nov. 12.



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