The Brian LaViolette Scholarship Foundation remembers another hero. In February of 1952, one of the worst storms to ever hit the East Coast struck New England, damaging an oiltanker off the coast of Cape Cod ripping it in half. On a small lifeboat, Bernard Webber and three other members of the Coast Guard set out in the raging storm rescuing 32 of the 33 stranded sailors trapped aboard the rapidly-sinking vessel.
Webber joined the U.S. Merchant Marine at age 16, volunteering to do his part as the United States waged war on two major fronts in Europe and the Pacific. Webber's volunteering to serve his country in time need, resulted in his leaving high school before graduating.
During his 20-year Coast Guard career, Webber rose to the rank of Chief Warrant Officer. Following his time in the Coast Guard, he worked as a boatman for the National Audubon Society, a charter boat captain and a harbormaster, spending a total of 42 years on the water.
Walt Disney Pictures acquired the screen rights to the novel The Finest Hours, which captures this incredible 1952 rescue and the film will be released today, January 29th, 2016.
To further honor Webber's legacy of heroism, efforts are underway to establish the Bernard C. Webber Scholarship of Honor through the Brian LaViolette Foundation at the Maritime & Science Technology Senior High, commonly referred to as the MAST Academy, a public high school in Miami, FL, which is also a nationally recognized magnet school of excellence.
Retired Coast Guard Captain Robert Grant, who is leading the fund raising effort, stated, "While Webber did not graduate from high school, he would later stress the importance of an education to fellow Coast Guard personnel and did so throughout his career. Therefore, it is very fitting that a Scholarship of Honor be established in his name, to both honor and remember the heroic actions of then Petty Officer First Class Bernard C. Webber and serve as an award to recognize those that plan to enlist in the military or pursue a career in public safety or community service."
The Bernard Webber Scholarship of Honor endowment drive is underway. It will be presented at MAST Academy after the scholarship is fully endowed. For more information on how you can become involved or donate, please contact me at 828-242-3790 or firstname.lastname@example.org