The August 23 river cruise for the developmentally-disabled was rekindled in 2007 by Marie Cousino, entertainment director for the Harbor View Yacht Club Auxiliary.
“This use to be an annual event,” said Cousino. “We use to take MRDD residents on a trip from Wyandot, Michigan. Last year we decided to start it up again. We kept it local with the hopes of making it grow and getting more residents and more boaters involved.”
Starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, approximately 11 boats took the 37 developmentally-disabled residents from nine group homes, and their staff, for the trip along the Maumee River.
Cousino said 13 boats were available for the trip, but only 11 were needed. The group left the yacht club, near the Toledo Edison plant, and traveled as far as the Willis Boyer Museum Ship and turned back.
The residents range in age from 30-87 years old. Following the trip, the yacht club and sponsors treated the group to lunch at Harbor View. The event included dozens of volunteers.
“I can’t say enough for the boater’s who volunteered this year. It’s no secret that gas prices are up, and these boaters are absorbing that cost for this trip. Most are looking at $4 a gallon, and some boaters will burn upwards of $100 in gas for this trip,” Ms. Cousino said.
Cousino, who also works as an LPN for Wiley Homes, says that the residents kept asking about the trip.
“It was truly a special time for them last year. As soon as we were done, they wanted to go again. The joy and expression on their faces is priceless,” she said.
Cousino hopes the event can be continued annually, and she already is preparing for next year’s event. She would like to see the event expand, if within means, and become an annual tradition that can continue after she retires.
Participating boaters included Past Commodore Brian Cousino, Past Commodore Jeff Gartz, Past Commodore Gary Weaver, Past Commodore Chip Pastorek, Bob Taylor, Mike Wiseman, Steve Myer, Bob Reed, Howie Peace, Jim Freimark. Betty Osenbaugh, Leo Heintschel, Dave Marazon and many other volunteers.
Sponsors for the trip included Perfect Sweep, Pepsi, HVYC, Meldrum Mechanical, Happy Trails, Maumee Bay Marine Services, Amy Tewers and Dave Smith, Rains’ Remodeling and Restoration, Montes TV, HVYC Blue Gavel, HVYC Satin Gavel, Tri-County Lighting and Power, and Napoleon Farms.
For information, contact the Harbor View Yacht Club at 419-698-8128.