SCHOONER ERNESTINA COMMISSION HAILS ERNESTINA-MORRISSEY’S NEXT STEP
SCHOONER ERNESTINA COMMISSION
Department of Conservation and Recreation
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Saturday, November 22, 2014
From: Laura Pires-Hester, Chairperson
The Schooner Ernestina Commission is pleased that the Restoration Contract between the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard in Maine has been finalized, signaling the start of another important milestone in Ernestina-Morrissey’s life journey. We are confident that Boothbay will accomplish this restoration with the same care, quality craftsmanship, and respectfulness exhibited in their restoration of the vessel’s bow in 2009. As a public body we pledge to stay abreast of their progress and maintain our part of the stewardship responsibility.
This journey is not over. Restoration is expected to take 2-3 years, and partnership agreements are being worked on regarding her post-restoration role. Current plans call for the restored Schooner to continue her educational role not only for training Cadets at Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA) but also for educational and sailing programs in and from New Bedford, her home port. Fund-and friend-raising will continue in partnership with Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association, Inc. (SEMA), to support restoration and future programming. “Out of sight” will not be “out of mind.”
Ernestina-Morrissey last sailed in 2004, and the restoration decision comes after a long and thorough process. We want to acknowledge and thank other bidders and communities that participated in any way. Their participation reflects the broad and diverse interest that has kept her alive and working these 120 years, and we trust that this interest will continue. We especially thank DCR Commissioner Jack Murray for his steadfast leadership and all DCR staff for their diligence in this challenging process. The selfless donations of Mr. Gerry Lenfest of Philadelphia and Mr. Bob Hildreth of Boston are key catalysts in mobilizing private and public donations, and we are eternally grateful to them. Elected officials Representative Tony Cabral and Senator Mark Montigny must be thanked for their constant watchfulness and support since Ernestina’s repatriation in 1982, the extraordinary gift from the Republic of Cape Verde to “the people of the United States.” The City of New Bedford continues to be her beloved home port, with the wonderful support of Mayor Jon Mitchell and his municipal colleagues.
Throughout Ernestina-Morrissey’s 120 years, many thousands have walked her deck, visited her, sailed on her, worked on her, studied on her, revived memories and acquaintances on her, and even married on her. She has plied the fishing grounds of Gloucester and Newfoundland, the icy Arctic seas, the Cape Verdean inter-island waters, and the wide open Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. She and her human partners have crossed boundaries of climate, geography, ethnicity, cultures, and aspirations, demonstrating always a limitless resilience of spirit. Her power as an educational platform on all levels is unsurpassed.
We give thanks for all who have loved and supported Ernestina-Morrissey, and we look forward to writing together her next story—a “whole new history.”
The Ship of So Many Memories
Recently, Ernestina-Morrissey was visited by the family of Dr. Lamar Soutter who served on the crew of the 1935 voyage. Dr. Soutter later went on to become founding dean of the University of Massachusetts Medical School He also pioneered revolutionary filtration and preservation techniques at the blood bank at Massachusetts General Hospital. His decendants were excited to have this opportunity before the ship takes the long trip to Boothbay Harbor.
Welcome Commissioner Do Canto
Governor Deval Patrick has appointed Licy Do Canto to the Schooner Ernestina Commission.
Mr. Do Canto has a personal connection to the ship. His paternal grandfather and maternal grandmother traveled to the US on the Ernestina, and he is “… excited to serve on the Commission.”
Licy M. Do Canto is the founder and president of The Do Canto Group, a bipartisan government relations firm specializing in public health and health care legislative and regulatory policy, focusing on underserved communities. The prominent Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill named Licy one of Washington DC’s top lobbyists for five consecutive years (2010-2014), describing him as “a name to know in the competitive world of Washington advocacy” and dubbing him “a highly regarded healthcare lobbyist” and “an ardent defender of public health programs who makes disadvantaged communities his main focus.”
He previously was a principal at the Raben Group, where he also served as co-director of the firm’s health and education practice group, and he was CEO of the AIDS Alliance for Children Youth and Families, a national non-profit advocacy organization focused on improving access to HIV/AIDS prevention and care for underserved communities.
Licy previously served as federal affairs director for the National Association of Community Health Centers, and founded and chaired the Partnership for Medicaid, a nationwide coalition of Medicaid safety net providers. He previously served as the American Cancer Society’s senior manager for federal affairs, and spent over 8 years on Capitol Hill, serving on the staff of former Congressman Barney Frank and the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy.
Licy has played a leading role in many of the most important legislative and policy issues affecting the public health and health care safety net communities over the last fifteen years, including passage of the Patient Navigator Act, the Medicaid medical home program, the FQHC Medicare and CHIP payment systems, and the Federal Home Visitation program.
Licy is a native of Boston, and is a graduate of Duke University and holds a certificate in public health leadership from the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Public Health, W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
The Ship Needs a New Nameplate!
Gloucester Schooner Festival
Labor Day Weekend brings the Gloucester Schooner Festival, a celebration of the schooner heritage. Of course Effie M. Morrissey, now Ernestina-Morrissey is one of the 6 remaining Essex schooners and the only Grand Banker left. There are always visitors to our booth seeking the latest news. Chet Brigham has just finished his book about Ernestina-Morrissey, Phoenix of the Seas, which will be published in early Spring. We were glad to see so many Morrissey family members and others with stories of the past, and all looking toward what the future holds for the ship. The traditional Heritage Day is hosted by Maritime Gloucester.
Always Work to Do on a Ship
Open Ship Enjoyed by All
DCR’s Seasonal Interpreter Leah Burns and Supervisor Paul Alexio hosted several Open Ships this summer along with SEMA volunteers. Childrens’ programs like “Something Fishy” a joint program of the New Bedford Whaling National Park and the Working Waterfront Festival visited the ship as well as tourists on walking tours and New Bedford residents just stopping by for a visit. Even a rainy Sunday was fun, as we hosted, among others, Nicolau Dias who reminisced about sailing Ernestina in Cabo Verde. It was evident he remembers how she handles under a good breeze and looks forward to sailing her again. And last week volunteers were excited to provide a safety crew for a very special wedding party!
C.W. Morgan Visit Showcase for Ernestina Too
The New Bedford Homecoming of the Charles W. Morgan was the event of the summer for the city and for Ernestina Morrissey. With the help of many wonderful volunteers, DCR staff and the Schooner Ernestina Commission hosted over 1600 people on the ship. The weather was wonderful except for a short visit by Hurricane Arthur which cancelled July 4 events. From the first weekend until the closing fireworks it was a great event! Thank you to everyone who made it possible to tell Ernestina Morrissey‘s many stories to new friends from all over!
President Lima was in town with other officials from Cabo Verde’s Ministry of Culture and the New Bedford Whaling Museum to cement a partnership that aims to enrich education and cooperation between the two.
Ernestina Will Sail Again!
The news we have been waiting for has finally been released. Thank you to all the friends of Ernestina who donated money to SEMA and gave their time to showcase the ship. Your perseverance delivered the message loud and clear that Ernestina is IMPORTANT!
We can finally tell you that Ernestina will be totally rebuilt. Bob Hildreth, a founder and vice-president of SEMA, and Gerry Lenfest, who has had an interest in the ship since a childhood acquaintance with Capt. Bob Bartlett, have committed a total of $2.8 million to the re-fit. SEMA is committed to provide $1 million and the Commonwealth’s $2.5 million will insure that the ship will sail again! Everyone that has been working very hard for this moment should be proud that this vessel, that was built in Massachusetts and returned to us in 1982 as a gift from the people of Cabo Verde will be able to proudly represent the Commonwealth again.
SEMA looks forward to our continued partnership with the Schooner Ernestina Commission and DCR’s Commissioner Jack Murray as we work to raise the final $1 million. It is wonderful to see what can be accomplished when everyone works together toward a common goal.
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Representing Ernestina in Wareham