The National Maritime Historical Society

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2017 Annual Awards Dinner – A Very Special Night!

The National Maritime Historical Society honored three most esteemed individuals at its Annual Awards Dinner gala at the New York Yacht Club on 26 October 2017.  You can now view photos of the very special evening!

Brian D’Isernia, Founder and Owner of Eastern Shipbuilding Group, received the NMHS Distinguished Service Award.  American sailor, fisherman, shipbuilder, and maritime heritage preservationist whose career spans nearly 50 years, Mr. D’Isernia progressed from commercial fishing into vessel construction, opening the Eastern Shipbuilding Group of Panama City, Florida, in 1976. Today, Eastern’s history includes a portfolio of over 350 vessels.  Taking the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream of bringing a significant piece of maritime history back to life, Mr. D’Isernia built a steel hull replica of Columbia, the historic 141’ Gloucester fishing schooner which had been built at the A. D. Story shipyard of Essex, Massachusetts, designed by William Starling Burgess.  24th Commandant of the US Coast Guard, Admiral Robert J. Papp Jr., USCG (Ret.), presented the award.

Captain Bert Rogers, Executive Director of Tall Ships America, received the NMHS Distinguished Service Award. Captain Rogers has served as bosun, rigger, mate, captain and educator aboard many sailing school vessels and traditional sailing ships. Between 1985 and 1993, he developed, directed, and served as captain for programs aboard  schooner Spirit of Massachusetts, conducting sail training and ocean education programs. He joined forces with Alix Thorne and became executive director of Ocean Classroom Foundation, which taught sail training aboard schooners Harvey Gamage, Spirit of Massachusetts and Westward. He is a major influence in the preservation of the skills to maintain and operate historic ships, and in the promotion of the public’s interest and appreciation of tall ships. Sea History editor Deirdre O’Regan presented the award.

Philip J. Webster, NMHS Overseer and Chairman of the National Maritime Awards Dinner, received the David A. O’Neil Sheet Anchor Award.  As the active Founding Chairman of the National Maritime Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C., of which there have been seven successful dinners promoting the significance of our maritime heritage in the nation’s capital, Phil Webster has tirelessly supported our efforts to advocate for federal funding for the maritime heritage community.  As an NMHS trustee he served as a progressive Development Chairman and the organization flourished as a result of his leadership, commitment and vision. Dinner Chairman George W. Carmany III presented the award.

We would like to thank all those who supported the dinner with sponsorships, tables, tickets, journal ads, bids on the silent and live auctions, and for contributions to our successful Beacon of Light fundraising for our educational initiatives!  We would like to especially thank our Event Marquee Sponsor Brian D’Isernia & Eastern Shipbuilding Group, our Fleet Sponsors The Artina Group, Inc., Howard Slotnick and William H. White, and our Commodore Sponsors Peter & Erika Aron, Walter R. Brown, George W. Carmany III, Christopher J. Culver, Brian D’Isernia & Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Ronald L. Oswald, H.C. Bowen Smith and Weeks Marine, Inc.

Great thanks to our Annual Awards Dinner Chairman George W. Carmany III, previous recipient of the NMHS Distinguished Service Award, and Dinner Vice Chairman Christopher J. Culver, both of whose leadership was integral in making the dinner a great success!  Richard T. du Moulin, award-winning yachtsman, served as our charming and erudite Master of Ceremonies.  Video tributes of the awardees were masterfully produced by NMHS trustee Richardo Lopes, who manages each year to mesmerize the audience and bring the history of the recipients to life.  The US Coast Guard Academy Cadet Chorale entertained us with their patriotic music and songs of the sea, and its Director Dr. Robert Newton was presented with a surprise award recognizing his talent and unwavering dedication to America’s future leaders, the thousands of US Coast Guard Academy cadets he taught.

Photographers Allison Lucas and Joseph Rudinec captured some wonderful images of the evening, and you can now view the photos online!

We thank you for your support and look forward to seeing you again soon!