Saturday was a very special day for nearly 40 Lucas County developmentally-disabled adults from the Wiley Homes when their annual river cruise takes them up close to the ships in Toledo for Navy Week.
The river cruise and picnic, organized at the Harbor View Yacht Club for the Wiley Homes developmentally-disabled, was rekindled in 2007 by Marie Cousino. At the time, Cousino was entertainment director for the Harbor View Yacht Club Auxiliary. She is still an active HVYC member, and in 2010 served as the President of the International Satin Gavel.
“This was an annual event,” said Ms. Cousino. “Years ago we took MRDD residents on a trip from Wyandot, Michigan. In 2007 we decided to start it up again. We kept it local with the hopes of making it grow, getting more residents, and more boaters involved.”
The river cruise in usually held in July, but was scheduled this year during Navy Week.
Starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, approximately 12 boats took the nearly 40 developmentally-disabled residents from ten group homes, and their staff, for the trip along the Maumee River. The residents range in age from 34 to 91-years-old. Following the trip, the yacht club and sponsors will treat the group to lunch at Harbor View.
Cousino, who also works as an LPN for the Wiley Homes, says that the residents keep asking about the trip.
“It is truly a special time every year for them. They look forward to this all year long. As soon as we are done, they wanted to go again. The joy and expression on their faces is priceless,” she said.
“There are over 125 people involved in making this special day happen for the residents,” said Ms. Cousino.
Marketing consultant Matt Zalewski wrote in an e-mail to The Press, the trip for the developmentally-disabled was a success, despite the added stress to yacht club volunteers.
“For members of Harbor View Yacht Club Navy Week proved to be a very busy week,” Zalewski said. “Some members took time to volunteer at The Maritime Academy of Toledo to help out with Navy Week activities there. Meanwhile on Saturday, August 25, other HVYC members volunteered time to take 40 developmentally-disabled adult residents from the Wiley Homes on the sixth annual river cruise and picnic held at Harbor View Yacht Club.
“As the first group of boats pulled out of the club and entered the Maumee River, they passed the Flagship Niagara as it headed out for a day cruise. Twelve boats in all took the 40 residents on a trip up the Maumee River, passing the frigates USS DeWert and HMCS Ville de Quebec, as well as USS Hurricane, a coastal patrol boat, and USCG Mobile Bay. The trip lasted about 90 minutes but gave everyone involved a lifetime of memories.
After the trip, residents were treated to a picnic prepared by volunteers at HVYC.
Sponsors included Pepsi, HVYC Auxiliary, HVYC Blue Gavel, HVYC Satin Gavel, Meldrum Mechanical, Monroe Pharmacy, Holiday Inn Express — Oregon, Panera Bread, Musil Movers, Maumee Bay Marine Services, and AB&B Ergonomics/AB&B Marketing.