Brock Callen and his wife Hope Callen will receive this year’s Walter Cronkite Award for their perpetual support of Island conservation and their dedication to positive social change, according to a press release.
The Callens will receive the award at the 2018 Vineyard Cup Opening Night, held at Tisbury Wharf on July 12 starting at 5:30 pm.
Brock, who started volunteering at Sail Martha’s Vineyard in 1995, recently announced his retirement as executive director of the program.
Hope joined Sail Martha’s Vineyard as an office manager in 2001, and two years ago retired from her position as administrative director of the program.
According to the release, “Sail Martha’s Vineyard makes sailing accessible to underserved island youth through heavily discounted introductory sailing programs.”
Peggy Schwier, president of the Sail Martha’s Vineyard board of directors, said the couple have been instrumental in forming many of the programs Sail Martha’s Vineyard considers its greatest successes.
One such program, an introductory sailing course that Brock teaches at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, instructs students on the fundamentals of sailing as well as the importance of protecting delicate marine habitats all over the Island. The course also shows students different career opportunities involved with sailing.
“We now teach high school students how to make a living sailing,” said Schwier.
Schwier said Brock has been involved in all aspects of the organization, from planning to instructing. “Brock is unrelenting in his business experience, as well as his passion for sailing,” said Schwier. “He is someone who was and still is very active in perpetuating the local maritime community.”
Hope is also a large part of the organization, and is equally dedicated to the well-being of Sail Martha’s Vineyard and the Island community, according to Schwier.
“Brock and Hope have worked for years to build Sail Martha’s Vineyard into the stable and successful organization that it is today,” said Peggy Schwier in the release. Schwier said she can’t think of anyone more deserving of the award.
“They really want to teach people that you should not only enjoy the ocean, you should show it respect and protect it,” said Schwier.
Cronkite, the longtime anchor of CBS News, was a pioneer of television news programming and reported on many of the most historic events of the latter half of the 20th century. Cronkite was a devoted seasonal resident of Martha’s Vineyard during his retirement. He was an avid sailor, and spent many summers on the Island.
The Walter Cronkite Award recognizes “an individual (or individuals) who live up to Walter Cronkite’s legacies of environmental stewardship and positive social change,” according to the release.