Ross Gannon and Nat Benjamin will receive the 2010 Creative Living Award, the Permanent Endowment for Martha’s Vineyard announced yesterday. The award will be presented on Thursday, Oct. 14 at the Grange Hall in West Tisbury beginning at 5:30 p.m. All are cordially invited to attend.
The Creative Living Award was established in 1983 through the Ruth J. Bogan and Ruth Redding Fund, an endowed fund with the Permanent Endowment, that supports a number of nonprofit organizations annually. This fund honors the memory of Ruth Bogan who, in the words of her friend Ruth Redding, was a “gallant woman who loved beauty, who loved the Vineyard and who believed ‘anyone can do anything.’” The award recognizes members of the Vineyard community who embody that spirit and love for the Island.
Gannon and Benjamin Marine Railway was established in 1980 through a partnership based on friendship, complimentary talents, a love for the Vineyard and a mutual passion for “messing about on boats.” Over the years, Ross Gannon and Nat Benjamin earned a reputation for their dedication to the preservation of an honored tradition — the design and construction of classic wooden sailing craft. More than 50 boats have been launched from their shop on the Vineyard Haven waterfront during the past 30 years, each gracing Island waters with their simple beauty and embodying the masterful melding of science and art.
“Ross and Nat are both tremendously gifted,” said Mrs. Williamson. “However, perhaps what has mattered most has been their integrity, humility and care for this community. From welcoming apprentices to share their craft to teaming up with Sail Martha’s Vineyard to launch the first maritime vocational education program in Massachusetts, Ross and Nat have given of themselves to better this community and have helped all of us hold onto ways of life that capture the spirit of the Island. So it is with gratitude for their many contributions to the beauty of our waters, for their dedication to the preservation of a noble maritime tradition and for their tremendously generous spirits that the Permanent Endowment will present Ross Gannon and Nat Benjamin with the 2010 Creative Living Award.”