SALISBURY, MD---“When can I get back on my bike?”
That was the first question Thomas “Tim” Smith of Salisbury often asked doctors upon waking up from surgeries—16 of them in less than 12 years. A long-distance rider since the 1970s and long-time participant in Salisbury University’s annual Sea Gull Century 100-mile/kilometer bike ride, Smith was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma in 1997.
“Even when he was sick, he provided SAG service,” said his daughter, Danielle, now a student assistant for the Century. “He always looked forward to the Century, and he always wanted to be involved.”
When Smith passed away in July at age 57, just three months before the 20th annual Sea Gull Century, ride organizers sought to honor the avid supporter. They decided to present Sea Gull Century scholarships to Danielle, who has been involved in the Century for several years, and seven other SU students in his memory.
Recipients included Christine Craddock of Burtonsville, MD; Jamison Douglas of Hampstead, MD; Charline Festo of Baltimore; Patrick Gotham of Phillipsburg, NJ; Kandice Hancock of Westover, MD; Tara McGovern of Yorktown Heights, NY; and Rachel Ploor of Crownsville, MD. Presented annually since 2006, Sea Gull Century scholarships range from $500 to $1,000.
Hundreds of SU students volunteer at the event each year, helping bring Wicomico County’s largest one-day tourism event to life. Many assist for different reasons. Festo, for example, volunteered to administer first aid to cyclists with her athletic training class and discovered a passion that went well beyond normal coursework: “I learned a lot about my expectations as a first responder and cannot wait until I get another chance at this event next year.”
As a freshman, Craddock searched for her niche at SU. Working at the Century as a member of SU’s field hockey team, she found that as a volunteer: “Sea Gull Century is an event which characterizes not only many of the greatest aspects of our school, such as community involvement, organization, responsibility and athletics, but those which I hope will continually define my career as a student at Salisbury.”
Volunteering at the Century is also a priority for McGovern: “Participating in community service events such as Sea Gull Century has provided me with very unique opportunities to meet great people and learn many valuable lessons about teamwork, friendship and goodwill.”
Gotham, vice president of external affairs for SU’s student government association, had high praise for the ride itself: “It's so nice that people come together not just to share their love of cycling but to celebrate and encourage education.”
Sea Gull Century Scholarships are awarded annually to students who have contributed or participated in the Century. Scholarships are renewable for up to two years. The dedication to Smith marked the first time the scholarship was dedicated in memory of an individual.
For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at www.salisbury.edu.