A leap of faith: Gloucester Rowing Association honors three men
For more than a decade, the Gloucester High School crew has earned its share of state, national and international trophies for its rowers’ accomplishments on the water. But it all began with a leap of faith.
Last week, the Gloucester Rowing Association paid tribute to members of the community whose faith in the program laid the groundwork for all the medals and trophies that were to come after.
Community leaders gathered at Freeport Landing on Saturday morning for a ceremony naming newly refurbished four-person rowing shells after three of the men who helped the GHS crew in its formative years.
Gloucester High School’s fleet now includes the John F. Baxter, the L.T. Wells and the Jon W. Hatch.
In 1999, Baxter and Wells went out on a limb, securing a personal loan for the crew’s first racing shells. In fact, the four-man racing shell named for L.T. Wells is one of the boats purchased with that first loan, said GRA president Randy Martin. From that initial purchase, the team’s fleet has expanded to 11 racing shells.
Two years after securing the loan, crew became a varsity sport at Gloucester High School. "We couldn’t do that without the support of the high school," Martin said, and, in particular, GHS athletic director Jon Hatch.