Trees for aviation scholarship

Trees4Life is selling Fraser firs, popular as Christmas trees, to help raise money for the Zak Quappe Flight Scholarship

Fraser fir trees from North Carolina will not only be a stunning Yuletide centerpiece this Christmas, they will also help raise funds for the Zak Quappe Flight Scholarship.  

Trees4Life imports the fresh, high-quality Fraser firs from Avery County that are tagged, cut and shipped to order. The enterprise was set up by husband and wife team Kelly and Jeff McGlashan, who are donating a portion of the proceeds from each sale toward the flight scholarship. The fund was established earlier this year to help those on island between the ages of 17 and 21 who are financially unable to train for and earn a pilot’s license. 

The McGlashans hope to sell more than 200 trees and raise more than $2,000 toward the scholarship. Their fundraising efforts can be tracked on  trees4lifecayman.com. 

The scholarship was set up in memory of 21-year-old Zak Quappe, who died in a car accident in May. As the chief pilot of the Cayman Flying Club, Jeff McGlashan had struck up a close working relationship with Zak, a keen pilot and instructor at the club.

“He was a very bright and talented young man,” Jeff said. “At the age of 21, he had already accumulated 400 flight hours, which in my opinion is a substantial amount of time for someone of that age. 

“Upon hearing of his passing, Kelly and I felt a tremdous amount of empathy for Zak’s family. It was at his memorial service that we realized the impact aviation had on Zak. 

“Shortly after, Zak’s parents and close family members asked me if I would be interested in helping them with an idea. They wanted to start a scholarship program that would essentially honor Zak’s legacy. The result is what became known as The Zak Quappe Flight Scholarship, which receives its financial support from organized events, as well as private donations, and now from Trees4Life.”

 

About the trees

The Fraser fir is one of the most popular trees for Christmas, and those from North Carolina are considered among the best in the world, due to an ideal combination of climate and altitude.

“I have chosen this tree over the years because of its dark green, thick branches, and sweet smelling aroma,” Jeff said. “When you walk into the home, it has that distinctive smell that just reminds me of the holidays and family. It also is a great tree for hanging ornaments.”

Kelly and Jeff travel to North Carolina where they personally tag each tree, making sure it is full of branches and has no defects. Trees are not cut until Nov. 20, which ensures they arrive fresh on Dec. 2. The trees travel in a reefer container where they remain until they are sold, ensuring they are the freshest Christmas trees possible. 

“What many people do not realize is that hundreds of thousands of these trees are being cut right now,” Jeff said. “The problem with the mass cutting is that by the time the tree gets to your home, it is dry and the branches have needles falling off.” 

 

To apply for the scholarship, visit caymanflyingclub.com and download the Zak Quappe Flight Scholarship application form. The program will provide funding for the successful candidate to attain a private pilot’s license through the CFC and a flight school in Florida. 

“I have chosen this tree over the years because of its dark green, thick branches, and sweet smelling aroma,” 

Jeff McGlashan

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