Sailing from floor boards to deck boards
Darboy's Grandpa Patrol finds unique ways to keep parish funds sailing along
By Linda DeVries
Parishioners at Holy Angels Church in Darboy are following in
Noah's footsteps. While they're not building an ark under the
deadline of a giant flood, they are hard at work completing a
fishing boat in time to auction it off at their parish picnic
Holy Angels' boat-builders - otherwise known as the "Grandpa
Patrol" - are men who have retired from various trades and
professions and now show up regularly at the church, school and
rectory to cut the lawn, reglaze windows, caulk, trim and sand,
and perform other maintenance duties. Recently, they've added
construction to their list of accomplishments.
A year ago, the Grandpa Patrol built a house, which was auctioned
off at last summer's picnic, netting the church $75,000. When a
parishioner challenged them to make a boat for their next
project, they got to work.
It was no small undertaking. The five principal volunteers -
Clem Boucher, Lyle Gerhartz, Bob Kramer, John Scherer and Ted
Timmers - put in more than 130 hours each. Dennis Budde, a
younger parishioner in charge of materials acquisition, also
spent many hours at the site. Others, including high school
students, gave time and energy to the project as well. Proceeds
will go to the parish and its ministries.
"Having so many dedicated volunteers is one of the exciting
things about this parish," said Fr. Tom Pomeroy, pastor of Holy
Angels. "Last year, we auctioned the house, this year, a
brand-new boat - it's unusual for a parish picnic."
The finished power boat measures 20 feet, weighs 750 pounds and
is made of fiberglass over plywood with foam insulation. The deck
is walnut, and the hull was made with a stitch-and-sew method,
similar to "sewing" with the wire through drilled holes. One
parishioner even made black-and-white seats to match the boat's
exterior. Another will paint an elongated hook design on the
The men who worked on the boat are proud of the fact that it is
kid-friendly and self-bailing, with three separate compartments
to provide swamped stability that exceeds the U.S. Coast Guard's
standards for level flotation. According to Budde, it offers
excellent pitch stability, good fuel economy, and a comfortable
ride at a variety of speeds.
The boat will be on display at Holy Angels, W5831 Cty. KK, for
the week preceding the Aug. 19 picnic.
The silent auction on the boat will start that day after the 10
a.m. Mass. The opening bid is set at $4,000. This figure covers
only the cost of materials, not labor, which was donated. The
last five bidders will be given the opportunity to submit sealed
"Whoever buys the boat can decide how big a motor they want,"
Budde said, "as well as choose the driver's seat behind the
console, and a trailer. The bids cover just the boat itself, but
area dealers will offer the buyer discounted marine packages for
the trailer, motor and other equipment."