Fundraiser launched after tragic fishing accident impacts Pittsburgh artists

click to enlarge Floyd Guy “F.G.” Gibbs Jr. - PHOTO: NINA GIBBS

Photo: Nina Gibbs

Floyd Guy “F.G.” Gibbs Jr.

A member of the local arts community suffered a devastating loss last week, and now a fundraiser has been launched to help her family and anyone else who was affected.

Floyd Guy “F.G.” Gibbs Jr., the father of Nina Gibbs, died when his fishing boat, Papa’s Girl, capsized off the coast of Engelhard, N.C., in the Pamlico Sound. He was 66.

The accident also claimed three other crewmembers, Sammy Douglas and Keyron “Breezy” Davis, and left one, Ben Poe, hospitalized. The bodies of Douglas and Davis have yet to be recovered.

A Facebook fundraiser was launched to assist with funeral costs for the lost crew members and to cover any medical costs for Poe. Nina says the donations will be split evenly four ways “with the intention of helping the children and families."

“All the men were the main income in their families and leave behind children that relied on them,” she says. And while Poe was released from the hospital, he "faces medical bills and trauma from the event while caring for several young children."

The donations are especially essential, she says, because, “Insurance of all types for commercial fisherman is very expensive and many do not carry it.”

So far, the fundraising campaign has raised over $13,000.

click to enlarge Papa’s Girl, the fishing vessel belonging to Floyd Guy “F.G.” Gibbs Jr. - PHOTO: NINA GIBBS

Photo: Nina Gibbs

Papa’s Girl, the fishing vessel belonging to Floyd Guy “F.G.” Gibbs Jr.

Nina moved to Pittsburgh from N.C. to study art, and, among other things, ran the former Most Wanted Fine Art gallery with her life partner, Jason Sauer, and serves as the community engagement and planning specialist for the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation.

Nina says F.G. had “saltwater in his veins,” being raised by a fisherman father and working in the fishing industry for over 50 years.

“He had taken his boat up and down the eastern coast from Massachusetts to Georgia,” she says. “He was considered a master of his craft and [was] loved in every port he entered. He was always respectful and friendly to everyone he met.”

As she tells it, the tragic event happened on the night of Jan. 7 as her father and his crew were returning home after trawling for shrimp. About five miles from Engelhard, an unexpected storm rolled in. Within 30 minutes, winds had “picked up to 50 mph gusts with sustained winds of 35 mph” and the boat began to take on water. F.G. was knocked off the boat, and the other members struggled with violent waves after they boarded a rescue raft.

Nina says that before the accident, the crew had caught a “record load” and were eager to bring it home.

“They had all been calling family and friends with excitement about how well they had done,” she says.

Besides being a seasoned, professional fisherman, Nina remembers her father for his "smile, helping hand, and great advice."

“He was known for his honesty and the goodness of his word,” she says. “A true character that had many stories, [who] enjoyed adventure, but was full of common sense and a solid moral code.”