Growing up in a small town in Massachusetts, Sid Mann (’61) discovered a whole new world as an Embry-Riddle student in the 1960s.
“I was dropped in the big city of Miami,” he recalls. “I found myself living with students from Lebanon and Greece. It was kind of a mini-United Nations.”
Fifty years later, Mann has fond memories of his time as a student, but one tragic event haunts him.
While at Embry-Riddle, a flight student from Lebanon, who Mann knew as Eddie, shared a house with Mann and another student for five months. After the Christmas break, they all found other housing arrangements, but Mann heard Eddie was sick and visited him in a Miami hospital.
Shortly thereafter, he was shocked to learn that Eddie had died on Jan. 29, 1961, of a misdiagnosed ruptured appendix.
“Eddie was such a nice guy, and he had a quick smile,” Mann recalls.
Mann completed his Airframe and Powerplant training and worked as an aircraft mechanic, before returning to Massachusetts. He became manager of his family’s lumberyard and eventually retired to Sarasota, Florida.
But he always remembered Eddie. With the help of a Sarasota librarian, he recently found Eddie’s proper Arabic name: Adnan Mohamad Mackaoui. That discovery led to records revealing where Mackaoui was buried in Lebanon and an address for his family. Unfortunately, there was no longer a house at that address, Mann says.
His research inspired him to make a gift to the Daytona Beach Campus Patron’s Scholarship Fund, in memory of Mackaoui, to help current international students.
“I thought the donation might help a foreign student here now, who has no network or family nearby to help them,” Mann says.
There’s one more thing he hopes to do in honor of his onetime friend: “I would like to decorate his grave in Lebanon with flowers and the flags of our countries,” Mann says. “It may be 56 years late, but better late than never.”