Funds raised for scholarship in honor of man who died in 9/11 attacks
SALISBURY — Ruby Beaty’s college-age son, Channing, brought the package inside when he came home from classes one afternoon.
Beaty didn’t know what to make of the square box the FedEx man had left on the porch. A receipt said it was from Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., where her late nephew, Todd Isaac, had graduated in 1990.
The prep school surely wasn’t sending something that had belonged to Todd after all these years, Beaty thought.
She frantically looked for a scissors to cut the shipping tape.
“I couldn’t imagine what it was,” she said.
Beaty pushed away the packaging paper to reveal a Wilson NCAA basketball. A handwritten note from Ann Harris of Phillips Academy offered an explanation.
Harris wrote that more than 40 Phillips Academy alumni filled the bleachers of the community center at Stuyvesant High School in Lower Manhattan Sept. 10 for a blue-white game in honor of Isaac.
A reception that followed the game was sponsored by the Todd Isaac Memorial Scholarship Fund committee.
“In addition to remembering him and having a great time doing something he loved,” Harris’ note said, “they raised enough money to complete the Todd Isaac Fund at $750,000.
“This fund will support young people at Phillips Academy in perpetuity.”
About 20 alumni attending and/or playing in the Todd Isaac Memorial Basketball Game signed basketballs for Beaty and Isaac’s surviving brother, Odell, who now lives in Colorado Springs, Colo. They also included the years they graduated from the prep school.
“Todd meant a great deal to them all, and Andover is proud to have a fund with Todd’s name,” Harris said.
Born in Salisbury and raised in New York, Isaac was working in the World Trade Center’s north tower Sept. 11, 2011, when American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the building.
The plane created an “impact zone” that spread from the 93rd to 99th floors. No one above that zone survived, and Isaac, a mortgage banker and partner with Cantor Fitzgerald, was on the 103rd floor.
His bond trading and investment firm occupied the 101st through 105th floors of the north tower, and it lost 658 employees — three out of every four people in its New York offices.
In Salisbury, Ruby suffered through that long, terrible day with Todd’s mother, Betty Greenard Isaac, who had moved back to Salisbury after her husband’s death. Betty died July 4, 2002, just nine months after the terrorist attacks.
The basketball was a perfect way to honor Isaac, who played at the academy, then at Holy Cross.
“I was so excited,” says Beaty, retired from the Center for Disease Control and the Veterans Administration. “I just wanted to scream, because I thought that was so impressive.”
She immediately made three calls — to Harris in Andover, Odell Isaac in Colorado Springs and son Damon in Raleigh.
After the 9/11 tragedy, Damon had started a charity called “Todd’s Toys” that collected toys for distribution to underprivileged children. He oversaw the effort for nine years.
The basketball arrived in late October, and All-American Trophies finished sealing it in a clear plastic case and mounting it on a wood pedestal Monday.
Beaty says it will sit on the top left corner of the piano in her living room.
But she also thinks about putting it out on loan to family members, for a couple of months at a time.
One thing is certain. She’s taking it with her to Damon’s home in Raleigh for Thanksgiving, so everybody has a chance to see it.
Beaty credits one of her nephew’s classmates, Rejji Hayes, for giving Harris her contact information and making sure she received a signed basketball from the memorial game.
Beaty thinks classmates from both Phillips Academy and Holy Cross, along with people from Cantor Fitzgerald, have made significant contributions to the scholarship fund.
Phillips Academy is the nation’s oldest boarding school.
At Holy Cross, where Isaac graduated in 1994 with a degree in economics, there’s a memorial to him and other alumni who died on 9/11.
Isaac had visited his mother in Salisbury during the Easter vacation before his death, and that was the last time Beaty saw her nephew, who was 29 at his death.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263, or mwineka@ salisburypost.com.
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