Orange Bowl Committee Honors Local Miami Hero
On Friday May 8, 2009, The Orange Bowl Committee will hold its 7th annual Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida Field Of Dreams Scholarship Benefit at the Broward County Convention Center in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The Committee will be honoring several home town heroes, among them will be uber-pilot Captain Barrington Irving.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Captain Irving moved to South Florida at the age of 6 and spent his youth in the inner-city Miami. He did well in high school, but saw a football scholarship as the only route to college. At the age of 15, his life changed when he met a Jamaican United Airlines Captain, Gary Robinson, who took an interest in the young man’s future. Captain Robinson’s mentoring and encouragement helped motivate Irving to earn his pilot’s licenses, as he worked toward a college degree.
On March 23, 2007, 23-year-old Barrington Irving embarked on a solo flight around the world, to show other youths that dreams are achieved through hard work and dedication. When he took off from Miami in a single-engine aircraft, some 3000 students and well-wishers cheered him on. Over the next three months, he flew 26,800 miles, crossing four continents and encountering snow, rain, sandstorms, and monsoons along the way. When he returned to Miami on June 27th, he secured his place in history as the first black pilot and the youngest person ever to fly solo around the globe. The flight route headed eastbound with stops in countries such as the Azores, Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Egypt, Dubai, India, Bangladesh, Thailand, China, Japan, and Russia.
.Captain was awarded with the Congressional Resolution Honor on Capital Hill for this outstanding achievement and for his pioneer work in the field of aviation education. He was also awarded the Florida State Medallion of Excellence – the state’s highest honor.
In 2003, Barrington founded the nonprofit organization, Experience Aviation Inc., to introduce other young people to the field of aviation. In November 2006, with the help of local and federal grants, he opened the first EA Learning Center in Miami. The Center offers aviation education and career guidance programs to middle and high school students.
There is no doubt that the Orange Bowl Committee was thrilled to bestow this honor on such a talented professional and community leader. Captain Irving is a trailblazer both locally and internationally. He has indeed established high standards for anyone to achieve when trying to break his record and accomplishments.
“Everything is in place for one of the more successful, star-studded and meritorious group of honorees since the Field of Dreams began. This promises to be one of the premiere events of the season. Now part of the Orange Bowl Committee’s 75 year legacy, our Field of Dreams offers a can’t miss night of entertainment, recognition and the generous spirit of South Florida,” comments Antonia “Toni” Williams-Gary, Co Chair of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida Orange Bowl Field of Dreams Committee.
“The Orange Bowl Committee is dedicated to giving back to the community especially as it pertains to youth academic and athletic programs,” says Lynn Washington, co-chair of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida Orange Bowl Field of Dreams Committee. “We invite the public to join us as we celebrate America’s future leaders, and continue the OBC’s legacy of 75 years of making our community better.”
The benefit will also include a special performance by two-time Grammy-nominated, soul songstress Chrisette Michele. Chrisette Michele has had an “Epiphany” with her Ne-Yo penned single. Aptly titled “Epiphany” Michele’s highly anticipated sophomore album follows her 2007 certified gold album I AM. This beautiful 23 year old is a singer songwriter and composer who is signed to Def Jam Record by Antonio “L.A.” Reid who told her he had “goose bumps” after the first time he heard her. “When Chrisette Michele enters a room,” said Mr. Reid, “the room becomes a better place.”
The Field of Dreams Scholarship Benefit is an annual Orange Bowl Committee event with a purpose of providing college scholarship funding for deserving high school seniors. The program has awarded individual scholarships, and contributed over $300,000 for African-American scholarships to organizations such as the Tom Joyner Foundation, The Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund, Florida Memorial University’s Athletic Scholarship Fund and the UNCF.
The Orange Bowl Committee is a not-for-profit, 330-member, primarily-volunteer organization. It is a self-sustaining, independent organization that supports and produces activities and events that enhance the image, economy and culture of South Florida. The Orange Bowl Festival features a year-round schedule of events culminating with the FedEx Orange Bowl on January 5, 2010. In 2013, the OBC will again double-host both the FedEx Orange Bowl and the BCS National Championship. Other OBC core events include the MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic, Orange Bowl Youth Football Alliance, Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships and Orange Bowl Sailing Regatta Series.