Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Pilots airlift boughs of holly to Tangier Island residents

Chesapeake Sport Pilot flight training owner Helen Woods stands with some of the pilots who turned out for the 2015 Holly Run, carrying fresh cut holly for decorations to residents of Tangier Island.

STEVENSVILLE — On Dec. 3, as they have been for nearly 50 years, pilots from the Chesapeake Bay area will bring Christmas cheer to the approximately 700 isolated residents of Tangier Island, Va.

Eastern shore pilot Ed Nabb Sr. started delivering holiday greens (holly) to the island in 1967 when he realized that the rising sea level had eroded Tangier Island to the point that it no longer supported the growth of holly or other traditional Christmas evergreens. His son, Ed Nabb Jr., took the reigns upon his father’s passing, growing the event to nearly three dozen pilots and planes carrying holly to the island. In recent years, the event has grown to more than 50 aircraft, and Santa has joined the pilots to spread Christmas cheer.

This year the pilots are bringing school supplies for the students and teachers at the Tangier Combined School.

“Teachers on the island can’t just run out to Walmart like we can,” explained Chesapeake Sport Pilot Chief Flight Instructor and Holly Run coordinator Helen Woods. “Things that every teacher needs this time of year like Kleenex and Germ-X can be in short supply. We’ll be loading our planes with these and other items the school needs in addition to bags of holly.”

Chesapeake Sport Pilot flight school is the main organizer for the sixth year running. In addition CSP has joined this year with AutoGyro USA, Vans Aircraft, and the Chesapeake Flying Club in serving breakfast to the pilots before the flight at the Bay Bridge Airport, in Stevensville.

“We are delighted to be able to host the Holly Run again this year,” said Woods. “Promoting the joy and fun of aviation is what Chesapeake Sport Pilot is all about.”

Tangier’s mayor and Methodist pastor are planning a special combined Tangier history lesson and Christmas service for the pilots to be held in Tangier’s beautiful and historic Methodist church. Lunch will later be served at Loraine’s Sandwich Shop on the island.

Ed Nabb Jr. and Santa and Mrs. Claus (Ralph and Laura Hoover) will be flying with the group. A rain/snow date of Dec. 10 has been set.

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