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Fundraiser Grand Prize Recipient: A Day to Remember

Updated: Jan 16, 2023

OCT Restoration Fundraiser 2015 : Grand Prize Recipient Experience By Kathleen Sailer:

Last Spring the Oct Restoration campaign was funded at the Grand Prize level by an anonymous donor who wished to gift the experience to someone in need. On Saturday, September 26, Rat Island Rowing Club hosted a Make-A-Wish recipient, 15 year old Ben, accompanied by his dad, for a day of versatile Marine related experiences. The beautiful crystal clear morning began with a club row in four quads, Ben and dad riding in the launch with Ted, accompanying the shells to Point Wilson and back. Afterwards, Ted took them over to Rat Island to see numerous harbor seals and pups on the beach and swimming close to the boat. It was a highlight for Ben as he loves animals and marine life. Afterwards they joined the rowers for coffee and pastries at Velocity, having a chance to socialize with club members.


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Next was the Pilot House Navigation room at the Maritime Center, the pinnacle of his day. Ben is computer and tech savvy and is especially interested in video game development. Luzi, docent for this experience, gave him various simulated marine conditions through which he digitally navigated from a coast guard cutter on our coastal, bay, and Puget sound waters.


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Following lunch outdoors at Courtyard Cafe, we toured the Marine Science Center exhibits, hosted by co-founder Judy D’Amore. They were intrigued with the suspended Orca skeleton on display, and the aquaria . By late afternoon Ben seemed full with new experiences, and given a gift bag on behalf of the club with a signed copy of “The Boys in the Boat” book, a Rat Island hat, mug, and tee shirt.


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Their day was nicely summarized by a note this week from Ben’s dad:

Hi Kathleen – thank you so much for a wonderful day in Port Townsend and all the great pictures! We really had an amazing time, and can’t thank you and the rest of the Rat Island crew enough for such a memorable experience. I think it opened up Ben’s eyes to rowing, and who knows, maybe he’ll be inspired to give it a try after he reads Boys in the Boat. I know I’ll be taking it along on an upcoming vacation and look forward to the special context the book will have having experienced the shells and workshop up close. Enjoy what’s left of the season!

Best, Will.

PS – we loved the video – please pass that on! 🙂


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