Alumni News

Rescue at Sea

Capt. Ervin Curtis ’80 (right) and other MMA alumni assisted in a recent rescue at sea.

At approximately 0652 on August 14, 2021 the Crowley tanker Golden State was transiting the Gulf of Mexico bound for Cape Henlopen, DE with a full load of crude oil. Mate on watch Jessica Faltings ’17 received a MAYDAY call from a small craft called “Three Musketeers.” Captain Curtis instructed 2nd Mate Kenneth Estes ’15 to contact the USCG on the emergency line for Sector Key West. Also assisting in the rescue effort was 3rd Mate Liam Griffith ’21.

The 26-foot sport fishing boat was approximately 85 miles west of Dry Tortugas and 145 nautical miles west of Key West, FL. Weather conditions were rough and the fishermen were difficult to locate. The fishermen reported some ships had passed by them without stopping, and the Golden State crew didn’t see them until they were about a mile away. With tropical storm Fred expected to pass by the vessel’s position in less than 24 hours, it is likely the situation could have been much worse. At 0832, the small craft was secured alongside.

Survivors Luis M. Sanchez-Hechavrria (L) and Torres C. Osvaldo, adrift four days with food and water running very low, were offered medical attention, hot food, and spare crew cabins to rest and clean up.

“Thank you for answering the call for these distressed mariners,” USCG Sector Key West Command Center sent this message to the Golden State crew. “The sea state and impending storm made for a difficult operation, but your crew’s exceptional abilities proved for a successful rescue. We are happy to see everyone in good spirits and safely aboard your vessel.”

  • Alums Assist Mariners

    Since the coronavirus pandemic began, many of the merchant mariners who move 90 percent of the world’s goods from port to port have essentially been stuck at sea, unable to go ashore.

    With ports closed to sailors, many couldn’t go home. Some spent 20 months at sea, according to the International Maritime Organization, an organization that described the issue as an unprecedented humanitarian crisis.

    It was a good opportunity to help people who likely couldn’t get vaccinated...

    The mariners’ plight is often overlooked by people on the mainland. But it hasn’t been overlooked by two Mainers, who began volunteering to give COVID-19 vaccinations to the crew members of cargo ships docked at Mack Point in Searsport, ME. “They’re really super excited and grateful,” Annie Dundon ’84, a physician assistant in Southwest Harbor, and former mariner herself, said this week of the sailors she vaccinated.

    Mariners assisting

    “It’s been tough on them,” said Penobscot Bay harbor pilot Skip Strong ’84, Dundon’s husband. “Stop and think about living on a 400- to 1,000-foot-long steel box with roughly 20 other guys, and that’s it. That’s your world. We want to do as much as we can for them.”

    The mariners’ plight hasn’t been overlooked by two Mainers, who began volunteering to give COVID-19 vaccinations to the crew members of cargo ships docked in Searsport.

    Many of the sailors hail from countries with very low vaccine availability. With a surplus of shots here in Maine, Strong figured it was a good opportunity to help people who likely couldn’t get vaccinated for a long time otherwise. Not all the sailors have wanted the vaccine. But 65 sailors from Thailand, the Philippines, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, and the Netherlands have been glad to say yes.

    — Courtesy of BDN 5/30/2021
  • 41st Annual Lobsterfest Picnic

    On Saturday, July 24, nearly 50 MMA alumni, other area maritime academy graduates, and family members gathered at the ZLAC Rowing Club for the 41st Annual Lobsterfest Picnic. With perfect weather, lots of lobsters, and plenty of traditional goodies including coleslaw, potato salad, corn on the cob, assorted chips, and hot dogs, the event continued the SoCal Chapter’s great tradition. The annual event was highly welcomed following a hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic. The picnic celebrates the tremendous maritime camaraderie while enjoying Maine’s favorite seafood, giving native Mainers in the Southern California area a chance to get a little piece of home.

    Mariners assisting

    Lobster picnic “Chefs” (L to R) Peter Betti ’10, Jeff Pollock ’15 and Alex Waller ’15.

    A “tip of the hat” to the planning committee and the volunteers who helped make this year’s event a success – Mike Curtin ’04, Peter Betti, Danna Staples, Joanne Westover, Jeff Pollock, Alex Waller, and Ralph Staples ’71. Special thanks to Joan Fulton for arranging for the use of the private, member only ZLAC Rowing Club for our picnic.

    Mariners attending came from MMA, California Maritime Academy, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.

John Burns III ’85
51 Ash Lane
Hermon, ME 04401

Samuel Rowe ’65
195 Eagle Drive
Mashpee, MA 02649

Pat Zrioka ’87

Rich Slack ’93
32 Joy Lane
Uncasville, CT 06382

Tom Lord ’87

David Knapp ’86
5008 Longfellow Avenue
Tampa, FL 33629

David Lane ’68
St. Augustine, FL

Jon Fortier ’86
5 West Baker Street
Winslow, ME 04901

Ben Cameron ’93
Brunswick, ME

Michael Chambers ’80
2233 21st Street
San Francisco, CA 94116

Juan Molino ’89

Lindsey Pinkham ’04
111 Greenwood Avenue
Warren, ME 04864

Minh Harriman ’90

Mike Grigware ’87
30 Riverview Drive
Biddeford, ME 04005

Norman Laskay ’62
5848 Catina Street
New Orleans, LA 70124

Capt. Jay Stewart ’00

Ralph Staples ’71
299 OakValley Lane
Escondido, CA 92027

Sherri Hickman ’85

Michael T. Ward ’10
Virginia Beach, VA

Josh Collamer ’98
Silver Spring, MD

Jason Grabelle ’98
Ellicott City, MD

  • Del Valley/DC Golf

    Tom Lord ’87 of the Delaware Valley (PA/NJ) Chapter and Josh Collamer ’98 (DC) joined forces to host the inaugural Mid-Atlantic Golf Tournament at the Union League Liberty Hill Golf Course in Lafayette Hill, PA on Monday, October 18, 2021. Limited to 12 teams (48 golfers), the group raised money for scholarships for deserving MMA students. Plans are to rotate the event between the PA and DC areas in the future. Special thanks to host Larry Burrill ’77 and organizer Craig Dagan.

  • Summer Reunions

    The MMA campus was busy this summer with six class reunions and a mini-muster. The classes of ’56, ’58, ’65, ’66, ’70 and ’80 were well represented at their reunions and treated to good food, an update on MMA, a harbor tour, and the opportunity to gather and reminisce. Each class conducted a solemn Eight Bells ceremony, remembering their classmates who have passed before them.

    The Class of 1971 has topped the $100,000 mark for their class scholarship fund.
    Mariners assisting

    The Class of ’64 (top) hosted a mini-muster at the Waypoint in July.

    The Class of ’71 (bottom) hosted an evening of sea stories, laughter and reflection at their 50th reunion. This well attended event was held at the Woodland County Club in Falmouth. David Dodge declared victory as the Class of 1971 topped the $100,000 mark for their class scholarship fund. “Onward to $150,000.”

Save the Date

Maine Mariners Hockey, Portland
January 28 | Cross Insurance Arena, Portland

Senior Banquet
February 9 | Cross Center, Bangor

February 26 | Black Mountain, Rumford

Tidewater Chapter, Norfolk Admirals Hockey
March 5

Night by the Bay
March 26 | Sable Oaks, Portland

April 23 | MMA campus

TSSOM in Charleston, SC
May 3-6

South Atlantic Group, Charleston Riverdogs Baseball Alumni/MMA Students
May 5

TSSOM in Portland, ME
June 19-21

Alumni Reception, Ocean Gateway
June 20

For these event details and more:

  • Casco Bay Chapter

    With a new venue (Portland Yacht Services’ new location) and a different time of year (July 23-25, 2021), the Casco Bay Alumni Chapter Marine Flea Market at the Maine Boat Builder’s Show raised $9,629 for its scholarship fund. President Pat Zrioka ’87 stated, “None of this would have been possible without all the hard work of the alumni and friends of the MMA Casco Bay Chapter, who were instrumental in sourcing marine items, setting up the tables, selling, collecting/counting the cash, and doing the final cleanup on Sunday afternoon. Everyone took the initiative to help with every task no matter the size to make the 2021 MBBS Marine Flea Market a success.”

    Jay Sawyer ’83 had a booth at the event and gave his presentation “El Faro Salute!” each day of the market. He made numerous contacts with people who knew some of the crew lost or were hearing about the tragedy for the first time. He is still actively fundraising for the memorial to be dedicated in Rockland next year. Visit

    Casco Bay Chapter Picture

    The chapter also hosted a social at the new Throttle Car Club in Scarborough on September 23, 2021. Kevin Davis ’85 (left), with Dan Hobart ’94 and John King ’79, is a member of the club and hosted about 40 alumni and friends at this beautiful venue. Attendees were treated to classic car static displays, a tour of the facility, a slideshow of the vehicles immortalized in the Trick’s End yearbook through the years, tasty Portland Pie Co. catering, and great company.

  • DC Metro Chapter

    Josh Collamer ’98 and the DC Metro group welcomed MMA Alumni Association President Bill Full ’76 to a small gathering at Gordon Biersch in Annapolis, MD on July 12. Collamer reports that, “We enjoyed the update on the current search for the Academy’s next President, the discussion on the importance of fundraising, and the MMA comradery!” Attending were (L to R) Andy Covert ’89, Capt. Phil Johnson ’77, Full, Ben Strickland ’95, Chris Owsianiecki ’98, and Collamer.

    DC Metro Chapter Picture
  • CT/RI Chapter

    The dedicated group of alumni in CT and RI gathered at the first annual “Bank Street BreakOut” car show in New London, CT on July 22, 2021. The car show featured pre-1973 hot rods, customs, muscle cars, and stockers.

    Those attending were Rich Slack ’93, Charlene Hipsky ’11, Capt. Lou Normand ’72, John Gasper ’02, Bob Sundman ’65, Jon Carr ’87, Todd Thiel ’92, and Doug Vines ’81. The group is standing in front of Gasper’s 1954 Hudson Hornet. Rumor has it that Bob Sundman has a beautiful 1948 Ford Woody Wagon.

    CT\RI Chapter picture

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