Friday, May 25, 2018

Charleston Blessing of the Fleet

By Karen Robes Meeks

Charleston, Oregon’s historic fishing community, will be honored on Monday, May 28, at the annual Blessing of the Fleet and Memorial Service.

The service will pay homage to those in commercial fishing and the fishing industry who have died since 1941. This year, nine names will be added to the “In Memory of Charleston Fisherman” plaque. They are Barbara Hazel, Mike Lester, William L. Merritt III, Patricia Jane “Patty” Parr, Bob “Rubber Toe” Stevenson, Harry L. Taylor, DeWayne “Tee” Toliver, and Mel VanRonk. The names of Michael J. Hosie, George Paynter, and Eva M. Taylor will be added to the “In Memory of Charleston Fisherman's Industry” plaque.

The ceremony will feature remarks from local marine services firm owner William Elderkin, a memorial blessing from the Charleston Community Baptist Church and a bagpipe performance from Oregon Coast Pipes and Drums. The U.S. Coast Guard will provide a color guard and a 1954 buoy bell will sound as each name is read. In addition, a Coast Guard lifeboat filled with flowers and wreath will head to sea and lay them on the water in a brief ceremony.

A coffee and cake reception at Porter Hall, behind the Charleston Baptist Community Church on Boat Basin Road, will take place following the service.

The event will take place at 10 a.m. at the Charleston Fisherman’s Memorial Garden, near the launch ramp at the Charleston Marina.