Monday, May 18, 2009

Paddle Fest '09
Last One?
Every year a local paddle shop holds this event on the not-so-clean Milwaukee River (which runs behind their store). Each year several of us volunteer to sit on the water for 6 hours on each of two days and act as safety boaters. This year's event was this past weekend (we made three rescues). I personally enjoy seeing all the different models and colors of crafts that the manufacturers have developed in an effort to capture market share. Most of all, I enjoy seeing the families getting out there and having quality time together. But, is this going to be the last Fest?
I, and I suspect a lot of the others, volunteer for this because of Sherri Mertz, a fellow paddler who works at the store. When we go there to buy something, we are going to Sherri, not necessarily the store (we can get it on line, as well). Well, Sherri is leaving the business and has started her own paddling school. We all know her to be a well qualified instructor and a talented paddler. Besides, she's a nice guy (and so is her husband, Jim). So, I wonder, if the store intends to do this next year, who will ask us to volunteer? In fact, who there will even know who we are or how to reach us? And will we want to?
Paddle safe...


kdharo said...

On behalf of everyone here at the shop, I would like to personally thank you, and all of the other volunteer safety boaters, for everything you have done to make this event such a success over the years. In the last few years, you have watched over hundreds and hundreds of paddlers, many of whom were taking their first tentative paddling strokes. It’s hard to say how many of them (at least the ones who stayed dry) take notice, much less appreciate, you guys, but for me, knowing that “Sherri’s friends” are out there watching over them is a tremendous mental relief. Your contribution to the local paddling community has been quite substantial and I hope you all realize how many lives you have touched just through this one two-day event. You guys are the best (Sherri told us so)!

While we are going to miss Sherri very much (probably every day for a very long while here), and look forward to supporting her new business in any way we can, we will continue on. There will absolutely be another Paddlefest; the dates have already been published for next year (it is always the weekend before Memorial Day weekend). We would love to have you all back, keeping another group of new paddlers out of harm’s way, but we understand if you decide not to. Who knows, with the proper incentive and a little pleading, maybe we might even get Sherri down there on the water doing what she does best: making better paddlers. In the meantime, I hope you’ll drop by now and then to check up on us and chat with the staff. We have some big footsteps to follow in, but we’re eager to serve.

Thanks again,

Kevin Haro
Paddlesports Buyer
Laacke & Joys

Silbs said...

Thanks, Kevin...and well said. Here's to to the next one.