2011 Fall

From the Helm . . .

Plans have been finalized for MCBA’s “Fortieth Anniversary”, a real milestone in the organization’s history. Making it extra special this year is that the organization, through the hard work of its officers and administrators, survived what may have been its darkest hours. This would not have happened were it not for the solidarity of the membership, who stayed with us, never doubting we would right our ship. As this is written in early September, I’m told we are down only about 40 captains/mates; however, a number of captains have personally called and informed me they intended to rejoin in 2012. We sincerely welcome each and every one of you back.

The adversity that confronted us and threatened to destroy our primary reason for existence in the final months of 2010 has only made us stronger. We have emerged with an industry-leading mariners’ drug program that will serve as a model for other marine organizations for years to come. Most of all, however, it will benefit our captains like no other program can because it is run by your own organization. We have our own Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) who is available for confidential counseling if needed and who can make it a whole lot easier for a captain who does test positive for drugs to keep his license and get back to work as soon as possible.

So we have reason to celebrate. Mark the dates of October 21, 22, and 23 on your calendar. Captains Jim Fenner and Jim Shutt have prepared and outstanding program for our Fortieth Anniversary celebration. Our keynote speak is Mr. John Goss, President Obama’s front man for stopping the entry of Asian carp into the Great Lakes. Mrs. Patty Birkholz, the Director of the Office of the Great Lakes, will follow him. DNR fisheries biologists, the United States Coast Guard Drug Inspector, and MCBA’s own drug administration team will also make presentations. The complete program is in the following pages of the CANNONBALL or can be found on our website.

Please join me, your officers, and board members for this major milestone in MCBA’s history, even if you can only spend a day or a few hours. (You’ll definitely want to stop by and pick up your “Fortieth Anniversary” coffee mugs!) Together, let’s celebrate the “New MCBA”. Together, let’s make it the finest professional mariners’ organization on the Great Lakes!

Captain Terry Walsh
President – MCBA