Cape Fear Community College is pleased to announce the Capt. Richie Spears Memorial Scholarship Fund, established by family and friends in memory of CFCC graduate Richie Spears.Â Richie lost a valiant battle with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in June of 2008 at the age of 29.
The scholarship will be awarded annually to a CFCC Marine Technology student who shows interest in boat handling, seamanship and navigation.Â The scholarship will help deserving students reach their goal of working in a marine-related profession.
Born on Sept. 22, 1978, Richie began working on the Cape Hatteras waterfront as a pre-teen where he literally â€œranâ€ seafood from the boats to the markets.Â Â He shortly graduated up to a mateâ€™s position on the Miss Hatteras, an eighty-foot head boat.
Throughout his teen years he worked on charter boats where he honed his offshore sport fishing skills.Â Â At the ripe age of 18, he took those skills to the Honolulu waterfront where he worked as a charter boat mate.Â Although most of these early years were spent in a hook and line fishing environment, he was developing a love of traditional fish harvesting methods and the impacts that both have on our ocean resources.
â€œWhat he had at 20 years was a relatively immense amount of experience and a strong determination to forge a livelihood as a mariner,â€ said Joyce Spears.
To help focus this knowledge and energy he turned to CFCCâ€™s Marine Technology Program.Â At CFCC, he joined a great group of fellow professional mariners where he was able to put formal polish on his career efforts.
He graduated in 2002 with an associate degree in marine technology and a master operatorâ€™s license, allowing him to captain seagoing vessels up to 100 tons.
After graduation, he successfully opened a â€œchild-friendlyâ€ inshore charter service, Hatteras Adventures, which catered to vacationing families throughout the summer season.Â During the winter he fished commercially, operated a duck hunting guide service, and served as the stand-by captain for the Tow Boat US Franchise in Hatteras.
Dickie Spears, Richie’s father, said that Richie considered himself fortunate to attend CFCC.Â He was proud to be a graduate from the marine technology program and pleased to be associated with such a fine group of mariners.
â€œWe are so very thankful that our friends and family members have given so generously to a program that will help others achieve success in a field that Richie so loved. We are very grateful that the Captain Richie Spears Memorial Endowed Scholarship will live on in honor and memory of such a fine waterman,â€ Mr. Spears said.
For more information about CFCC, the Foundation, endowments or scholarship opportunities, please contact the CFCC Foundation at (910) 362-7207.