Nostalgic aviation-themed gala benefits underserved students


Anyone who has wanted to relive the world of aviation as it existed in the 1950s will want to attend a special fundraising gala set for 6-11 p.m. April 30.

“Come Fly With Me” will be held at Generations In Aviation, located at Craig Airport, 724 Wright Brothers Drive, Jacksonville. The fun will include blackjack, a silent auction, live music, a full dinner and full bar and valet service.

“It’s really just a great way to come together and to celebrate — but also to donate,” said Becky Lowry, executive director of CSI Gives Back, the nonprofit affiliated with CSI Companies.

This is the foundation’s third gala since its founding in 2019.

The purpose of the event is to raise money for the foundation’s school-based support. The beneficiaries will be the students at Sadie T. Tillis Elementary School, Charger Academy middle school and the drama team and art students at Twin Lakes Academy, as well as the Andrew Jackson Young Girls mentoring group.

The students do not enjoy the level of support available to their peers, so the efforts of CSI Gives Back are especially appreciated. The funds raised by the foundation help to buy school uniforms, backpacks, supplies and other items for students in need.

But one of the most important, and intangible, gifts the foundation gives is its unwavering support. CSI Gives Back regularly visits the schools and bring smiles to the children. This is not a “one and done” organization.

“Yesterday, when we were out there, I ordered a game truck,” said secretary Deborah Valentine. “They thought that the game truck was only going to be there for maybe two hours, but I ordered it so this game truck would be there from 10 to 3. And they were just overcome with emotion. That meant so much to them.”

“It’s generally building trust and honesty with everything,” said Lowry. “They know that we’re going to stand by their side if they have a need that is unmet.”

Tickets for the gala can be purchased at or The foundation can also be found on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

At this time, there are no rules regarding masks or vaccinations. The venue is large enough to allow for social distancing if desired.

“The best part about being at the airplane hangar is that it’s very large,” said Lowry. “It’s not a tight, confined banquet room.”