Saturday March 3rd was a lovely day for Western Carolina Sailing Club’s 55th annual Commissioning Day.
It was a sunny and warm day that started with the 1st workday of the year led by Rear Commodore, John Barnard. There was a great turnout by the membership and a lot of needed projects were accomplished.
Although the ceremonies were not until 4:00, preparations began on site the evening before with the caterers setting up their serving line. Prior to that, Lisa Craft had been very busy over the past month lining up all the parts and pieces of the event and advising the Commodore what his options were and of the things he needed to be looking after. Starting about 3:00 club members, past commodores, the current Board of Stewards, the color guard, and guests began to show up.
3:50 - The 10 minute warning was announced with the firing of the first cannon by Keat Pruszenski. That got everyone’s attention.
4:00 - The second cannon was fired and our MC, 2009 past commodore Dan Marett, began the ceremonies by announcing the attending past commodores as they were led in by Bill Sloger-1971 followed by Jim Hudson-1980, AG Caldwell-1985, Mike Miros-1987, Dennis Fisher -1990, Joe Martin-1993, Wayne Cheser-2002, Ron Moede-2003, Spencer Mathews-2005, Steve Kiemele-2007, John Kreidler-2008, Tommy Craft-2011, Paul Harder-2013, Derek Lord-2015, Paul Rock-2016.
2018 Commodore Ronnie Ashmore, carrying the American Flag, led the current Board of Stewards to the lawn south of the flag pole.
The Westside High School ROTC marched in and stopped in front of the flag pole. The Commodore then proceeded to the flag pole to present the American Flag to the ROTC. The flag was raised and Jack Ludena, an 8th grade student from McCants Middle School, beautifully sang the Star Spangled Banner.
Commodore Ashmore then proceeded to lead everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance:
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America
and to the Republic for which it stands,
one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
The Commodore introduced the 2018 Board of Stewards: Tim Crane - Vice Commodore, John Barnard - Rear Commodore, Ted Sauvain – Treasurer, Susan Ruark – Secretary, Jim Snowden – Steward thru 2018, Ron Sanga – Steward thru 2018, Chris Miros – Steward thru 2019, Andrea Lehmann – Steward thru 2019, Eric Seymour – Steward thru 2020, and Curt Rubinstein – Steward thru 2020.
Steward Ron Sanga gave an update on Vice Commodore Tim Crane. Tim was moved earlier in the day to Anmed Healthsouth; 1 Springback Way, Anderson, SC 29621 for several weeks of rehabilitation/physical therapy on his broken leg and hand.
"To me this club is all about family with each member family becoming part of the larger WCSC family, coming together with the love of sailing. What better place to do that than here with the wonderful people and outstanding facilities we have at the club. As you know, WCSC is involved with the community supporting Hospice of the Upstate, Safe Harbor, Boy Scout Troops, Adaptive Sailing, Pickens County School STEM, Adult Learn to Sail, Junior Sail Camp and the list goes on and on. I look forward to supporting each and every one of you this year helping to continue with the traditions, as well as exploring new opportunities to prepare the club for whatever lies down the road. With your help, we can make it happen!"
JoAnn Ashmore, daughter in law of the Commodore, read the following poem:
by Tom Krause.
Ships are not built for the harbor,
surely in life there is more.
The journey is what brings fulfillment
to a life that is worth living for.
From the heart comes the hope of the present,
from memories dreams from the past.
From the soul comes the spirit of living,
from experience lessons that last.
Look ahead to see where you are going,
look behind to see where you have been.
Look inside to discover your purpose,
then let your life’s voyage begin.
Take care as you sail to your future.
Share kindness with people you meet.
Take heart in the oceans you conquer,
till your journey through life is complete.
And when your life’s voyage is over,
when your sun starts to set in the sea,
pass on to the next generation
the joy that the journey can be.
Steward Jim Snowden blessed the Fleet with the following prayer:
Blessed are you, Lord, God of the universe. You created all that is. We stand in awe at the complexity and beauty of your creation. We ask for your guidance in being better stewards of your creation.
We offer thanks to you for the earth, our island in the vastness of space; our country, still that beacon of light in a troubled world; and especially this beautiful place on the shore of Lake Hartwell. We thank you for the opportunity to gather with friends, family, and others who share a love of sailing.
We ask your blessing on this place.
We ask your blessing upon all of the boats and those sail in them.
We ask your blessing on our club leadership; Ronnie, Tim and John.
We ask your blessing on all of those gathered here to inaugurate a new sailing season.
In the coming year, grant us incredible sunrises and sunsets, mysterious cloud formations, enough wind to propel those who depend upon sails to gracefully navigate, and when we are on the waters at night, more stars than we can count.
We pray this in the name, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Dan Marett for MCing, Jim Snowden for blessing the fleet, Westside ROTC for the presentation of colors, JoAnn Ashmore for reading the poem, Jack Ludena for singing the National Anthem, Adelle Allan for the preparation of the food.
A special thanks to Lisa Craft for organizing and coordinating the day.
“Many many thanks to all that attended today. Each and every one of you are what makes this club great!”
With that, the Commodore announced:
“LET THE 2018 SAILING SEASON BEGIN!”
Keat Pruszenski then fired the final cannon and everyone proceeded to enjoy refreshments and the variety of heavy hors d’oeuvres while taking time to visit with old and new friends.