The late Vernon Hankins - a respected teacher of 33 years in the Brick School System and a "Painter of Light" - passed away this past Thanksgiving morning. Two thousand of us paid our respects in the days that followed.
We're pleased to announce that educators and friends across the region have created The Vernon Hankins Scholarship Fund - this 503(b) non-profit effort at Brick High School is designed to celebrate Vern by raising funds for a scholarship that honors his name.
The First Inaugural VERN-STOCK will be held from 3 to 10 p.m. Sunday, March 3rd at the Bricktown Elks, 2491 Hooper Ave. The price of general admission is $10, which includes a cash bar, entertainment, food, bands and more. (Additional details below this post and/or call 732-841-5602!).
Vern, 61, was removing a 100-year-old oak tree from his property which had toppled due to high-winds during Superstorm Sandy. The tree fell directly between the family home he built with his own hands and the art studio where the hands of students he tutored experimented with theories, tools and ideas to achieve work of extraordinary quality. Incredible friends stepped in to restore his final canvas and salvage all that was left and precious to him.
Vern, a graduate of the Point Pleasant Beach High School Class of '70, used his palette in life as a remarkable platform to unlock the hidden gifts inside art, music and expression.
By doing so he helped students, friends, and colleagues experience the world around them through the same prism of brilliant colors and joyous moments that guided his own journey.
At age 13, his creativity exploded on the Point Beach scene as he launched his very first rock band called "Days from inside a Gowdy Avenue Garage."
I became a Vern Groupie when my family moved to his neighborhood in 1974. Inspired by childhood friends, he would spend his last four decades strumming his bass guitar and moving the entire Jersey Shore to its feet!
Inside the awesome narrative that framed Vern's life, his art was the constant. Like the sculptures he modeled and carved, the scope of his artistic and intellectual abilities played out on multiple levels.
So many called him the true Renaissance Man because Vern could draw from so many varied talents, interests and experiences to change color, texture, form and mood in a single moment.
In January, I joined Vern's wife April, his sisters Debbie and Donna, brother Mark and many friends inside an echo chamber of respect and praise as comedians Joe Piscopo and Jeff Norris honored Vern's legacy-of-laughter inside the school where he had just served as Head of the Fine Arts Department.
Countless people eloquently described how Vern transformed his life's work into a kaleidoscope filled with glorious mirrored reflections that helped others - especially children - see their own potential. It was a deeply moving tribute.
Vern's "Aunt Alice" Bradley, a Point Pleasant matriarch and lifelong best friend of Vern's beloved mom, ruled for a few moments in her own right that evening. Her piercing blue eyes lit the way as she carried the pride of Vern's late parents Donald and Cora (Burdge) Hankins right into that auditorium! For a moment, the wonderment of Vern's past collided with the present and we felt at home.
Alice seemed pleased. She knew the legacy of Cora's and Don's eldest son, Vern, would be linked forever to the lives of others because he openly shared his love of family, friends, all art forms, music, education, sports, architecture, science, history, culture, construction, home repair, any good joke, and God's four-legged creatures especially his Lady & Penny with anyone motivated to listen.
In November and December a chorus of voices from across the country made their way to The Patch to post heartfelt condolences and to explain how Vern had influenced their lives... What they said was a wonderful affirmation of what we already knew.
They wrote that he had represented the very best of "love thy neighbor; laugh and laugh often; find the kid inside yourself to motivate others and watch what happens; lead by example and people will follow; share knowledge to propel others forward; believe in yourself; winning is great but stay focused on how the game is played; take time to find the differences in the world and turn it into art; don't give up no matter what the challenge or disappointment; and work hard every single day to tap the abilities that live within you."
Vernon Hankins, a Point Pleasant Beach favorite son, left home 33 years ago and became a "Painter of Light" in the lives of kids.
His guitar still gently weeps... but his art will live on through the scholarship created to honor his name.
We hope you can join us. Thank you.
Go to: www.thevernonhankinsscholarshipfund.com for event detail or to donate!! Thank you.
FUNDRAISERS AND EVENTS!
SUNDAY, MARCH 3, 2013 3PM-10PM
We Will Hold the.....
A DAY OF FOOD, LIVE BANDS, GIFT AUCTION, AND 50/50 RAFFLE
TO HONOR VERN AND RAISE FUNDS FOR HIS SCHOLARSHIP!
EVENT WILL BE HELD AT:
THE BRICK ELKS, OLD HOOPER AVE.
$10 FOR GENERAL ADMISSION FOR AGES 21 AND OVER, CASH BAR
TICKETS ON SALE NOW FROM MARGARET REDDAN IN THE BTHS ATHLETIC OFFICE OR CALL KATHY KELSEY FOR MORE INFORMATION 732-841-5602!
We are still in need of/happily accepting donations for the gift auction!
Please drop off any donations to Margaret Reddan in the athletic office at
Brick High School! Thanks so much!