In loss — hope and a view forward

Eric Eder is seen setting longline gear. He was lost at sea in 2014, and a scholarship established in his name. (Courtesy photo)

Lincoln County students will be better positioned for a shot at their dreams due to the memory of a man lost at sea.

Edgar Ruiz Garcia and Anastasia Flatt are local recipients of the Dorothy and Clifford Hall Memorial Scholarship, each receiving $500. A scholarship for $1,000 went to Kai Daniels. The fund is dedicated to Eric Eder, a Newport fisherman who died in the Bering Sea in a 2014 trawling mishap.

The scholarships go to those with families who work in the fishing industry. Students must turn in an essay and transcripts and meet other requirements.

“I started this scholarship fund in 2013 after my grandparents had passed away,” said Taunette Dixon, president of the Newport Fishermen’s Wives. “I asked the Wives to administer the scholarship fund shortly after starting it and have a current panel of six individuals that help me choose the winners.”

Brisk sales of the Wives’ 2019 calendar and several generous donations enabled the group to hand out $5,000 in scholarships, Dixon said.

“For the first time since starting this fund I was able to fly up to my home town Unalaska/Dutch Harbor to personally hand out their scholarships,” she said.

In Unalaska/Dutch Harbor, four scholarships for $500 went to Lisa Tran, Bailey Hahn, Kiara Villamor and Kalista Decker. Kala McDonald received the $1,000 scholarship.

   Clifford and Dorothy Hall were the stuff of local legend, with Clifford fishing on the West Coast and Alaska beginning in 1936 and continuing into the 1990s. The couple divided their time between Newport and Unalaska/Dutch Harbor for decades. Their children and grandchildren were educated in both locales, and the Halls were dedicated to supporting education.

Like many who take on the hardship of life on the water, they wished for the young to be free to make choices in a different direction.

“It’s a sacrifice many families make in our community to bring food to our tables and there is nothing easy about it,” said Shelly Eder-Heim, sister of Eric Eder, in her speech awarding the scholarships. “Kai Daniels — you have an incredible future ahead of you. Congratulations.”

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