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Finally, LMPS Is On the Water Again

by P/C Debra Allen, AP

The COVID-19 pandemic caused the 2020 Shake 'N Break to be cancelled. But Lake Murray Power Squadron was back in full force this year as vaccinated members arrived in force on 27 March for this annual event that kicks off our boating season. It started out as a chilly and foggy Saturday, but that didn't slow down the crowd, especially those who showed to sell items from their tailgates during the Nautical Trunk Sale. Folks went home with trailer tires, electronics, fenders, life jackets, anchors, anchor rode, line, propeller. The question became what can't you find at a Lake Murray Power Squadron Nautical Trunk Sale! There was even a bimini top.

Throughout the day Certified Vessel Safety Examiners conducted boat inspections. At last count, over half of the 18 boats in attendance were successfully inspected. Before bridge members cooked and served up the Member Appreciation Lunch, it was time to take advantage of the 64 folks in attendance by recognizing individual and group achievements from 2019 as well as those that took place during 2020 despite obstacles created by the pandemic.

Lake Murray was recognized at the D/26 Fall Conference with a 2020 New Member Award from USPS for recruiting 15 or more members as of July 31st. The squadron also received an Honorable Mention from USPS for our 5% growth in membership in 2019 and was cited for our members having 100% participation in donating to the USPS Educational Fund. USPS awards for communications were received for the squadron’s newsletter and website. Lake Murray also ranked 24th in the nation for superior performance in reporting nautical chart discrepancies in 2019, placing it on the national honor roll.

The squadron received the 2019 Robert A. Peters Boating Activities Award from D/26, taking first place in Division 3 for showing the greatest participation in district, squadron and inter-squadron on-the-water activities. In addition, P/C Lee Ayers, SN-CN and P/C Janice Ayers, AP along with Tommy Clawson, AP received the honorary title of Mariner from the D/26 Order of Mariners for their outstanding service and continuing achievement in improving knowledge of Seamanship and Navigation. This recognition was conferred in 2019 but was not presented in 2020 due to the pandemic. Tommy was present at Shake 'N Break to receive his certificate from Cdr Ed Garbe, S. It also was announced that P/D/C and P/C Lloyd Pitts, AP had received the LMPS Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Since LMPS was unable to host its annual Christmas Party and Awards Dinner in December, Cdr Garbe announced several additional squadron awards.

The squadron's stop award, the Golden Anchor, which is presented to a squadron member "for distinguished and unselfish service to the squadron with outstanding leadership, vision and ability," went to P/C Charlie Bruce, SN-CN. Next to be recognized were Lts Holly and Dan Drake. They received the 2020 Commander's Award for "their efforts and assistance in making Lake Murray a better squadron." P/C Rick Agar, P and Cdr Ed presented the 2020 Spark Plug Award, which goes to a new member of two years or less who started their squadron career with a real spark, to Lt Natalie Denning for her "enthusiastic involvement in boating, trailering, and squadron activities and leadership."

The presentations wrapped up with our "fun" awards. First up was presentation of the 2020 Bent Prop Award to John Hunter for winding up a dock line in his propeller. Typically presented to the member who "inflicts in a most spectacular fashion the most damage to his vessel or the vessel of others" -- maybe, the pandemic contributed to the moderate level of damage we found or witnessed during the past year.  

Last, but not least, Lt/C Betsy Agar, P presented P/C Fred Ruinen, JN the Rusty Anchor Award for an "unscheduled, unplanned, full immersion," which resulted from his failed water ballet moves as he tried to bring two drifting boat raft ups together with a single line. 

Following lunch everyone gathered for the Blessing of the Fleet, performed by LMPS Chaplain Mike Charles, S (a Methodist minister and retired military chaplain), with the assistance of the Rev. Brooklynn Smith and fellow LMPS member Tommy Clawson, AP. Our members cruised 18 boats to Flotilla Island and after receiving their blessing, a dozen boats and their crew cruised around the lake, finding a quiet cove for the year's first raft up. Fortunately, the fog burned off yielding a beautiful day and a nice evening back on the docks as members found it hard to leave the water.

Check out the photos below by clicking on the first thumbnail to open the slide show. The Bluetooth-equipped Tecate cooler and beer were raffled and raised $220 for the building fund -- our next project is a storage area on the side of the building to house tables and chairs.

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Updated 13 April 2021
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