Commodore Steve Harris – October, 2015
BLYC is one of the oldest yacht clubs in Ohio – 109 years! This longevity would, obviously, not be possible without the tireless dedication of countless members who volunteer their time to make our Club great. Each year, at the Annual Meeting, we recognize such members with a number of different perpetual trophies and awards. Many of these have been around for a number of years. As such, some of us may not be familiar with the stories behind them. It was suggested that I share some historical perspective…
The Heber Yachtsman Merit Trophy…
“The Heber” is perhaps the most coveted of all BLYC awards – our “Yachtsman of the Year.” One might assume that it is named for a Past Commodore, a great leader who led the Club through a difficult time, or some generous benefactor to BLYC. Not at all. It is named for Reginald Heber, a Columbus printer who was a member in the early years of BLYC. Although he served on the Board, he was never Commodore. It was Heber who first proposed the Club create such a Yachtsman Merit Trophy to recognize those who best display the merits of seamanship, sportsmanship, and character, but he only lived to see it awarded once, in 1942. A few weeks following the annual meeting that year, a group of eight BLYC members and their guests were involved in a tragic capsize on the lake. Only two survived. Among those who perished that day was Dr. Francis Keck, a BLYC member and close friend of Reg Heber. His body went unrecovered for days. As a result of countless hours on the water in cool autumn temperatures, searching for the body of his dear, departed friend, Reg Heber contracted pneumonia and, within a few short weeks, also lost his life. One certainly cannot question the character of the man for whom this award is named. His example of fidelity, self-sacrifice, and dedication certainly adds to the prestige of this award.
The Commodore Gustav Schell Award…
First presented in the year 2000, “The Gussie” is given annually to an Officer or Past Commodore who best exemplifies Commodore Schell’s example of service to BLYC, it’s affiliated yachting organizations, and the community. Gus served as Commodore of BLYC in 1951 and of the Inter-Lake Yachting Association in 1975. He was also very active in the Power Squadron and the Blue Gavel, in addition to numerous community organizations – Charity Newsies, Rotary, and the Agonis Club, to name a few. He truly exemplified “service above self,” and it is that example for which this award is presented. Commodore Schell passed away in the fall of 2013, just months shy of his 100th birthday.
The Helen B. Dressel Award…
Helen Dressel was the first President of the BLYC Ladies Auxiliary (now the BLYC Auxiliary) in 1941. Very active at BLYC for many years – the wife of two Commodores and mother of a third, her tireless dedication to the Auxiliary and the Club is nearly unparalleled. First awarded in 2013, it is presented to a member of the Auxiliary who goes “above and beyond” in service to the Club and the Auxiliary.
Please join me in recognizing our 2015 BLYC Award recipients:
Heber Yachtsman Merit Trophy
Governor Michael McVey
Commodore Gustav Schell Award
Commodore Don Harris
Helen Dressel Award for Service