Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Rescue & Honor

This post is a bit late (the Thanksgiving holiday intervened), but I think it is worth sharing. In case you missed the news, on November 18, 2014, seven crew members of the North Carolina ferry, Cedar Island, were honored with the Governor's Award for Excellence in Safety and Heroism.

As it happened, on September 26, 2013, a pleasure sailboat capsized in the dark near Ocracoke in Big Foot Slough during rapidly deteriorating weather.

After departing Ocracoke at 8 pm, ferry Capt. Steven Goodwin spotted the unfortunate sailors, John and Renee Hoffman. Goodwin maneuvered his vessel close by, and his crew launched the ferry's 16-foot rescue boat. It was piloted by crew members Glenn Salter and Daniel Smith. According to reports, the wind was gusting to 30 knots, and seas were building at 4 to 5 feet. The Hoffmans were safely pulled from the water and brought to the Cedar Island where they were brought aboard by the other crew members.

In addition to Goodwin, Salter, and Smith, Gerry Gilliken, David Styron, Randy Willis and Paul Morris were presented with awards and honored for their bravery.

Our thanks and respect go out to the crew of the Motor Vessel Cedar Island.  We are so fortunate to have knowledgeable and dedicated captains and crew in the North Carolina Ferry Division.

You can read more of this story here: http://www.carolinacoastonline.com/news_times/article_2a334282-7000-11e4-8352-6b8e7da31994.html.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the seldom told story of the 1837 murder of Willis Williams by Jacob Gaskill. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news112114.htm.


  1. Anonymous7:11 AM

    Never too late to tell of an unselfish act of bravery.

  2. Anonymous8:42 AM

    I suppose they deserve recognition,, however they are Trained to perform such duties and paid to perform such duties. It is a comfort to those riding the ferry that the crew is top notch rescue personnel too. But the training is for the rescue of ferry customers---- would not contacting the Coast Guard have been appropriate , more appropriate , it seems to me the other story is of what not to do --- do not launch into waters with deteriorating weather conditions, do not sail without a radio on board to contact the coast guard yada yada were those rescued there to thank the heros?????

  3. Anonymous9:25 AM

    Having ridden the ferry northward from Ocracoke just after sunset this past Friday, I have a WHOLE NEW appreciation for this story, which I read while on the island, and appreciate rereading just now.

    During our hour-long ferry trip to Hatteras, the picturesque orange glow on the western horizon gradually faded to all-consuming black, and though the waves became lightly rolling midway through our crossing, they were nowhere NEAR 4-5 feet.

    I said to my wife "This gives you a whole new appreciation for the people threading these boats through these narrow channels."

    So to imagine not only a hapless couple bobbing helpless in such waters but also the good fortune and presence of mind of the ferry captain to spot them, navigate as close as possible, and then for crew members to leave a perfectly good BIG boat and set out in a FAR SMALLER boat, in unruly water, and then retrieve the accident victims and return them safely to the ferry--without incident or undue injury--adds ENTIRELY DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE to the efforts of the ferry crew.

    Kudos to one and all for pulling together--without delay or dithering--and doing what needed to be done to save the lives of those people in the water.

    Thanks for sharing--as always--Philip. Even though the news may be old news to you, those of us out here in the hinterlands wouldn't likely have heard it any other way. And this tale of your friends and neighbors who work those ferries is certainly one worth retelling and honoring.

  4. Anonymous9:38 AM

    For Jenny Scarborough's excellent and comprehensive story of this rescue, go to Ocracokecurrent.com, Current News section, and click on the rescue award article. At the end of that article, there is a link to Jenny's must-read article written at the time of the rescue. Anon 9:25 will discover that the Coast Guard was called and consulted.

  5. This is the link to Jenny's article: http://www.ocracokecurrent.com/73517

  6. Anonymous1:07 PM

    Another link oh good, is this Ms Hoffman the retired press secretary for a former NC Gov???? just curious.... That Andy Warhol got it right and that 15 minutes of fame thing....