By Ethan Forman The Salem News
Several months before she was killed in the September 11, 2001, attacks, flight attendant Karen Martin of Danvers took a trip to Ellis Island and snapped a photo of the World Trade Center bathed in light through the clouds, a faint image of a cross visible above the buildings.
The image proved to be prophetic, and its sale raised money for a fund in her name for children’s causes.
Recently, Martin’s aunt, Joan Greener of Salem, used this fund to establish the Karen Martin Memorial Scholarship at North Shore Community College, the school from which Martin graduated with an associate’s degree in 1984.
There is enough money to award a $750 scholarship each year for the next 30 years, said Tatiana Burgos-Espinal, director of development for the North Shore Community College Foundation, which administers an endowment and scholarship accounts.
The Karen Martin scholarship is open to students who have earned nine credits and plan to earn at least six more. It can be awarded “above and beyond any financial aid package,” Burgos-Espinal said, meaning that if a student’s tuition and fees are already covered, the money could be used for such expenses as books and fees.
“It’s just very, very generous,” Burgos-Espinal said. “It’s not a constricted guideline at all.”
Martin was the 40-year-old head flight attendant aboard American Airlines Flight 11, which terrorists hijacked and flew into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Martin was one of the first victims of the attacks that claimed nearly 3,000 lives. She was reportedly stabbed while struggling with hijackers.
After Martin’s death, family members discovered the photograph in her apartment. They had the image copyrighted in Martin’s name, and it was sold to support the Karen A. Martin Memorial Fund, which has donated more than $40,000 to a number of children’s causes over the years, including the children’s room at the Peabody Institute Library in Danvers and the nonprofit Progeria Research Foundation of Peabody.
Greener said that as she gets older, she is finding it hard to organize large fundraisers and felt that converting the fund to a scholarship “was the best way to go at this point.”
Martin grew up in Danvers and was a 1978 graduate of Danvers High.
“She was high energy, highly motivated, just an incredible attitude from the time she was born,” Greener said of her niece. “When we think of Karen, we grieve for our loss and the way she died, but when we think of Karen, she puts a smile on our face.”
Greener said people are still contributing to Martin’s fund, many giving when they have deaths in their family. Those donations may now be made to the NSCC Foundation, 1 Ferncroft Road, Danvers, with “Karen Martin Memorial Scholarship” written in the memo line. Donations can also be made online.