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Anchors Aweigh

Hat. Check. Sunscreen and sunglasses. Check. Floatation device. Check. Edwin Zajac, a resident of the Good Shepherd Home – Bethlehem, was ready and raring to go. Now all he had to do was wait for his boat to come in. When it did, a big smile crossed his face in anticipation of an exciting ride on a motor boat with the wind in his face and the spray of whitewater spewing behind him.

For several decades, dating back to at least the 1980s, members of the Frick Boat Club in Allentown have been treating Good Shepherd residents to an afternoon of motor boat fun on the Lehigh River. For Edwin, the excursion on Sunday, July 9, brought up some special memories.

“It reminds me of when we used to go to Rehoboth Beach,” says Edwin. “I used to go with my family, and I used to fish out in the bay with my dad and uncle. I caught a huge flounder. The biggest. I took it home for dinner.”

The Frick Boat Club is one of Allentown’s best-kept secrets, its members say. The club is named after G. Henry Frick who was an Allentown policeman from 1893 to 1899. Tucked away down a non-descript dirt road in an idyllic setting of trees with a serene, uncluttered view of the river, the private club with 18 boat slips began in the early 1900s as a collection of small canoe clubs bought by G. Henry who incorporated them into one organization.

In 1947, PPL Corporation took over the property but granted the boat club a “charity” lease of $1 a year with one condition: that every year, the club perform a charitable deed for a mutually agreed upon organization. That organization was Good Shepherd. “This demonstrates that helping the community is part of PPL’s DNA,” says Carol Obando-Derstine, regional affairs director for PPL Electric Utilities. “It’s who we are and what we do and have done for years.”

Keeping the Good Shepherd tradition alive hasn’t been a problem with the boat club’s members who look forward to the day as much as the residents, staff and volunteers who help out. “We have no problem getting buy-in from our members,” says Don Trexler, club president, “because it’s one of the few days we get to share our toys with somebody else. They (the residents) are the most appreciative group we could bring here.”

Jay Nakahare, who is Don’s son-in-law had the pleasure of piloting his Sea Ray Sport boat with Edwin and volunteer Beverly Voorhees (main photo, opposite page), and Jay’s two-year-old son Toby and wife Amy. “It’s a special day,” says Jay, as he kicked up the speed a couple of notches to Edwin’s delight. “It’s a community here. Everybody looks out for one another.”

After several runs up and down a section of the Lehigh, the boats returned to the launch, and the residents were treated to a picnic of grilled hot dogs, baked beans, salad, and homemade desserts prepared by boat club members. “It was a really fun day today,” says Edwin. “A great day. Nice weather and good food and drinks and dessert.”

Don adds, “It’s a win-win because we feel good we got to share our boats and the residents have a good time.”

Take the Year-End Matching Gift Challenge

Good Shepherd’s residents are in need of a new, larger bus for more wonderful community outings like this. Once again, several resident families have agreed to match funds towards the purchase of a four-person, wheelchair-accessible bus, but we can’t do it alone.

You can double your gift and help us reach our goal of $70,000 by taking the Year-End Matching Gift Challenge and sending your tax-deductible donation of $10, $25 or even $100 before December 31st.

Any additional funds raised will be used for bus maintenance and for resident activities and outings. Click here to make a donation noting your gift is for the Year-End Matching Gift Challenge. Thank you!