She’s yar!

There’s an old nautical expression you don’t hear much anymore.  When a ship is ready or prepared for action, she is described as “yar.” (Not to be confused with the better-known pirate saying “Arr!”)

Last Sunday, Pierce County welcomed a new teaching vessel, and she is yar, indeed.

The MV (motor vessel) Doolin-Rogers arrived at her new home on the Foss Waterway, escorted by the Pierce County Sheriff’s boat, the Mundell (named for Deputy Kent Mundell), as well as the Tacoma Police and Fire boats.  She was greeted by boats from the Tacoma Yacht Club lining the waterway.  The afternoon was gorgeous and the Doolin-Rogers and many of her greeters were “dressed” for the occasion – nautical for displaying their signal flags in a decorative fashion.

The new vessel, owned by the Tacoma Youth Marine Foundation (YMF), is a floating “classroom” for students learning about our marine environment and maritime careers. They learn about tides, currents, weather, navigation, seamanship, marine biology, and engineering – all in the context of teamwork!  And many go on to careers on the Sound, like operating cargo ships, tugboats, ferries or protecting our waters.

The “Doolin” in Doolin-Rogers is a tribute to a businessman who found and restored the 100-ton aluminum vessel in 2015.  And, the “Rogers” name comes from Skipper Tom Rogers, a co-founder of the YMF.  She came to the Puget Sound as a result of a dream and a successful fundraising campaign.

She will be replacing the much beloved Charles N. Curtis.  Built in 1931 for the Coast Guard, she has been serving our local youth since 1946 -nearly 80 years with thousands of young people having “served” onboard.  But to prepare our students for the future, they need a bigger “classroom,” with modern navigation systems, engines, watermakers, and electronics.  So, it is time for the venerable Curtis to retire – she has earned it!

I was honored to share the day and stage as we celebrated the arrival of the Doolin-Rogers.  In my remarks I spoke about the importance of the maritime industry in our region. In fact, our amazing baseball team – the Mariners! – was named to honor and acknowledge how much we cherish our nautical heritage and lifestyle.

Congratulations to everyone who made it possible to welcome the MV Doolin-Rogers to the Pacific Northwest.

As I close, I want to give a shout out to Valeri Almony of the Human Services Department.  She recently received a fantastic award from Tacoma Probono, a local nonprofit that helps people who can’t afford legal help.  Here is an excerpt from the evening’s remarks:

“Anyone who knows Valeri Almony already knows she is honestly just a great human being which in itself deserves an award – she is outgoing, generous, smart, undaunted by tough challenges, and never stops working.  As many of you probably also know, she has been in charge of one of the most successful rental assistance programs in the entire country, which in itself also deserves an award and she probably has a few.  However, tonight we’re honoring her for her vision and leadership in recognizing the vital importance of connecting our Housing Justice Project in on-the-ground, real-time fashion to the Pierce County Human Services Rental Assistance Program, the Pierce County Library System and anywhere else we could appear together in person so people behind on rent and facing homelessness could get rental assistance and at the same time know their rights as tenants and have access to legal aid to stay in their homes… you have truly made a difference.”

Valeri, thank you for all you have done to support some of the most vulnerable in our community.  You are what public service is all about!

Thanks for reading,