The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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August 10, 2001 Issue
Local News

Sailing from floor boards to deck boards

Darboy's Grandpa Patrol finds unique ways to keep parish funds sailing along

By Linda DeVries
Compass Correspondent

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 Aug. 19.

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 hull.

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 bids.

"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."

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1825 Riverside Drive | P.O. Box 23825 | Green Bay, WI 54305-3825
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