9/11 re­mem­bered 15 years later

Record Observer - - Opinion - Dan Tabler

The hor­rific ter­ror­ist at­tacks on the U.S. 15 years ago Sun­day were re­called in memo­rial ser­vices held through­out the na­tion. It was a day never to be for­got­ten in Amer­ica, ce­ment­ing our be­lief that ter­ror­ists will never break the heart and soul of this na­tion.

The Rev. Mark Far­nell, pas­tor of the Cen­tre­ville United Methodist Church and chap­lain of the Good­will Fire Com­pany, had in­vited all mem­bers of the com­pany to church ser­vices Sun­day. De­spite a slim turnout of vol­un­teers in our Class A uni­form, Pas­tor Mark called us up to the front and praised the work of the first re­spon­ders that day, cit­ing the fact that 342 fire­fight­ers were among those killed as the two planes struck the World Trade Cen­ter build­ings and they col­lapsed unto those at­tempt­ing to res­cue peo­ple from the struc­tures.

A day that should never be for­got­ten!

••• RACING AT THE

NAR­ROWS We men­tioned my old friend and power­boat racing cham­pion Wheeler Baker last week, and that he is to be in­ducted into the State Ath­letic Hall of Fame in Novem­ber for his record-break­ing races in his hy­droplane from 1977 to 2007.

I had to look back into the Record Ob­server bound files be­cause I knew we car­ried a lot of pictures and sto­ries when the racing first started at the Nar­rows. Sure enough, there were plenty, start­ing in June 1956, when the first races were held.

We car­ried three pictures of Al­ton Pier­son, along with two other lo­cal drivers, Lem Thomp­son and Gar­rett Ruth. The cap­tions said it was the first an­nual Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Bridge Re­gatta to be held off Har­bor View in Cox’s Creek by the Queen Anne’s Power­boat As­so­ci­a­tion, and they ex­pected 200 boats from all over the East Coast. The next week it was page one with a picture and story of Lem Thomp­son beat­ing out Al­ton and Gar­rett in the POD Class in a driv­ing rain.

The next year, 1957, the re­gatta was held off Pi­o­neer Point in the Cor­sica River as Pi­o­neer Point owner R.J. Funkhouser had given per­mis­sion for the re­gatta peo­ple to use his piers, and fans could watch from the shore­line.

Al­ton, who by this time was high point man in the na­tion in 136 cu. in. class, won in Lil Barb. He used to race Bo-Bo for the Baker Com­pany fel­lows, and when not be­hind the wheel in his boat, he pi­loted a beer truck for them.

Then again in 1958, we found where Al­ton won the POD Class in races off the Kent Is­land Yacht Club that had to be post­poned a week due to choppy wa­ters. In the sports story, it was also men­tioned that 11-year-old Wheeler Baker raced in the JU Run­abouts. That would be the first of many years of Wheeler’s racing, fol­lowed by many records he set.

I must thank my fire buddy, Phil Hur­lock up in Church Hill, who dropped of the Aug. 31 Sun, which had the story and picture of Wheeler be­ing named. It also men­tioned that Wheeler is a 10-time win­ner of the Amer­i­can Power Boat As­so­ci­a­tion Na­tional Cham­pi­onships.

Be­fore I hung up talk­ing to Wheeler, he said, “Don’t for­get about my broth­ers, Tom and Ted, they both raced when I was racing, just not as long. We called Tom Bull of the Wood.” I’ll have to ask Tom where he got that nick­name.

Any­way, I can be sure Wheeler will find an­other suit­able place some­where in the Nar­rows for more hy­droplane racing in the fu­ture.

••• WE HAVE A RAVENS

NEST Picked up a folder on the counter at Good Guys dur­ing the last Li­ons Club meet­ing to read all about Ravens Nest 20 here in the county. If you are a big fan of the Ravens, who won their opener Sun­day, you will want to join the Ravens Nest. Ac­cord­ing to the folder, the Nest meets on the first Mon­day of each month at 7:30 p.m. at Good Guys. The fans with the Nest say in the folder they will be hold­ing their 2nd an­nual Ravens Kick­off Party at Good Guys at noon on Sun­day, Sept. 18.

Well, this foot­ball nut is a Ravens fan, but lit­tle too old to join the Nest; af­ter all, I go back to those Bal­ti­more Colts days where we spent 17 won­der­ful fall years at­tend­ing games at old Memo­rial Sta­dium.

If you want more in­for­ma­tion on the Ravens Nest 20, the flyer said you could find them at Face­book.com/Raven­sNest20 or at raven­snest20qac@gmail.com.

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