For years, Brock and Hope Callen handed out the Walter Cronkite award to individuals who helped Sail Martha’s Vineyard fulfill its mission.

Brock and Hope Callen. — Ray Ewing

This year, the organization handed it to them.

At the gala fundraising dinner opening night for the Vineyard Cup on the Vineyard Haven waterfront, the couple was honored with the Cronkite award for their years of service leading and growing Sail MV.

“Brock and Hope have built Sail Martha’s Vineyard into so much more than a youth sailing program,” wrote Sail MV president Peggy Schwier in her welcoming letter to the donors and friends who attended the dinner. “They have put Sail Martha’s Vineyard on the map.”

In his introductory remarks, historian Matthew Stackpole noted that the organization began as a small group of volunteers committed to teaching Island kids how to sail. But he ticked off many of the ways the Brock and Hope Callen have grown the mission.

“The high school sailing team, professional courses to prepare individuals for Coast Guard license tests, a significant regatta, a maritime science curriculum offered at the high school, several larger vessels, an understanding of our responsibility to the water around us, and the concept of sustainability,” Mr. Stackpole said. “Other than that I don’t think they’ve really done very much,” he added with a laugh.

Annual award given by Sail MV honors legacy of Walter Cronkite. — Ray Ewing

Mr. Callen is retiring this year as executive director of Sail MV, but in accepting the award, he noted some things that he hopes remain after he retires.

“Sail Martha’s Vineyard is about to enter a new chapter of its life,” Mr. Callen said. “Change is good, I’m with it, but there’s one thing that we hope doesn’t change. That’s what got us out of bed in the morning. That was to realize the incredible opportunity that we had to have a positive impact on the lives of the kids. What an incredible opportunity. As we move on. I can’t tell you how much Hope and I appreciate the acknowledgment. It has been our incredible pleasure. We hope this organization continues to have the soul that we see in it.”

The opening night dinner kicked off three days of racing in the Vineyard Cup, with all proceeds from the event going to benefit Sail MV programs.