When the early morning call came last Wednesday from the Marietta Fire Department, my husband, Joe, came downstairs to tell me that Gretchen's Phoenix- the MOV'n Dragons Boat- had been found almost fully submerged under the Williamstown Bridge.
With panic in our hearts, we drove down to the Marietta High School boat dock, on the Muskingum River, where the fire department had towed the boat. The two firemen who had brought our boat back to us had stripped off their shoes and socks, rolled up their pants and were bailing out the boat with old cut open milk jugs. Talk about going above and beyond the call of duty! I was impressed.
We then checked the boat over thoroughly for damage. Structurally it seemed fine. Aside from the fact that the boat's cover was pretty much ruined, there was really only cosmetic damage. With some sanding down, gluing and varnishing we will look like new again.
It's really hard to tell what actually happened or exactly when it happened. Foul play is suspected because the boat was securely tied in two places.
What happened after it was released is also uncertain, but we suspect that it floated into the Ohio River. Under normal conditions, it would have made a right at the Ohio and gone south with the current.
But it was found by the fire department lodged under the Williamstown Bridge, upstream from the Muskingum. Someone saw it there and called the fire department. We are guessing that Gretchen's Phoenix was hit by a barge and dragged some before it landed under the bridge. That deduction came from the wet chunks of rust found in the bottom of the boat after the water was bailed out of it.
So all of us feel extremely fortunate that we still have a boat. Who knows where it would have ended up if that fine citizen had not called the fire department. So a huge thank you to that man or woman. Another huge thank you to the two firemen Bob Davison and John Smithberger who helped us though the entire ordeal.
Finally, a third huge thank you to Peter Prigge, Joe Tewkesbury, Dan Jones, Elin Jones and Joe Baker who all put their efforts into making sure we got cleaned up and better secured for the future.
Gretchen's Phoenix proved herself a survivor. And now, since many of us are not only cancer survivors we are thrivers, we can say that Gretchen's Phoenix must also be a thriver. She came out of a very difficult situation, ready to move through the water again.
One a final note- We would like to have more details about this incident so if anyone has any information about how this happened, please contact the Marietta Police Department.
Judy Baker, of Marietta, is a member of the Mid-Ohio Valley MOV'n Dragons, a local group of cancer survivors and supporters.