Inspired by its namesake’s love of World War II airplanes, the Andrew McMorris Foundation’s fifth annual gala is set for Friday Sept. 29, from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, N.Y.
The foundation uses funds raised by events, such as its gala, to award scholarships and grants to young people, and to continue raising awareness of the dangers of drunk and drugged driving. It was created in memory of 12-year-old Andrew McMorris, who was killed by a drunk driver while hiking with Boy Scout Troop 161 in Manorville in September 2018.
“We weren’t done parenting Andrew, so we have put our pain to purpose and our grief to action by parenting his legacy,” said his mother, Alisa McMorris. “This evening we are honoring Andrew’s life and his love of aviation.”
Saturday’s event is billed as a trip back in time to the Stage Door Canteen with a 1940s flair. According to a release from the foundation, “Andrew’s parents, John and Alisa, have put their son’s fun-loving spirit into every element of the event, from the beverages by Mingle Mocktails, to the menu choices by Phillip Stone Caterers, to the set list by One More Once Jazz Ensemble, who’ll be headlining the evening with Big Band favorites.”
The foundation is very much a family operation, and the evening’s entertainment will feature a star, the releases stated. Students from the musical theater program at Rider University, where Andrew’s sister Arianna is a senior, will perform along with Carter Rubin, who won season 19 of NBC’s “The Voice,” and other surprise guests.
The gala will honor Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon Jr.; 2023 Legislators of the Year state Sen. Anthony Palumbo and Assemblywoman Jodi Giglio; and Volunteers of the Year, local photographers Gabrielle Marazzo and Douglas Simpkins of In Focus LTD and the Cintorino and Coogan families.
The foundation’s mission is to honor the life of Andrew McMorris by creating opportunities for education, scholarships, advocacy and change that make a meaningful impact on the lives of others.
This past June, the foundation awarded over 40 scholarships and grants totaling over $20,000 to young people who have passions similar to Andrew’s, such as music, aeronautics, Scouting and art. All proceeds raised at the gala will support the foundation’s mission.
Ticket sales closed Sept. 25, but donations can be made online at AndrewMcMorrisFoundation.org.