55th Annual Blessing of the Fleet

Mariners' Church of Detroit
March 10, 2019

The 55th annual Blessing of the Fleet was held on Sunday, March 10, 2019 at Mariners' Church in downtown Detroit. A large contingent of ISMA members from the Grand Lodge and several member lodges participated in the service as members of the Honor Guard: Grand First Vice President Joe Ruch of Port Huron Lodge No. 2; PGP Bob Lund of Chicago Lodge No. 3, PGP Ron Ingram and Grand Secretary-Treasurer Brian Eickel of Detroit Lodge No. 7; PGP Harry Dusseau of Toledo Lodge No. 9; PGP Joe Walters of Twin Ports Lodge No. 12; PGP John Biolchini of Northeast Michigan Lodge No. 19; Grand President Mark Mather and PGP Ray Sheldon of Grand Traverse Lodge No. 23; Jim Semerad of Port Huron Lodge No. 2; Tom Foster of Georgian Bay-Huronia Lodge No. 15; and from Detroit Lodge No. 7, Ray Oset, Art Brooks, Rick Scott, John Mantyk, Scott Reynolds, Lynne Kogel, Bill Griffore, Paul Gallas, Neil Schultheiss, Chris Stevens, Jay Downen, Ken Suddick, and Kathy McGraw. Several other ISMA members were in the congregation, including Dominic Gorno and Paul Jagenow of Detroit Lodge No. 7, Phil Knetchel of Toledo Lodge No. 9 and Curt Kikkert of Twin Sault Lodge No. 22.

Neil Schultheiss, President of Detroit Lodge No. 7, served as reader of recipient biographies during the Ludington Award presentations. Jason Ludington, great-great-grandson of Capt. Lewis Ludington, presented the three Ludington Awards on behalf of the Ludington family.  Lynne Kogel, Chaplain of Detroit Lodge No. 7, rang the Octorara bell as the names of departed mariners during the past year were read by necrologist Kathy McGraw. LTC Scott Snyder of the Detroit District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rang the bell for military personnel who have given their lives in service to the nation. Grand President Mark Mather, PGP Harry Dusseau, Rick Scott, and John Mantyk presented the wreaths representing the dangers of Storm, Reef, Fire and Collision. Art Brooks, Ken Suddick and Chris Stevens served as the flag receivers. Fr. Jeffrey Hubbard, Rector of Mariners' Church, officiated at the service. A social hour following the service was held in the Julia Anderson Room in the lower level of the church.

Three ISMA members were recipients of the Capt. Lewis Ludington Award:

Capt. Paul G. Gallas of Detroit Lodge No. 7
Capt. Scott E. Reynolds
of Detroit Lodge No. 7
Capt. Robert J. Thibaudeau of Detroit Lodge No. 7 (award accepted by Joseph Ruch)

The Capt. Lewis Ludington Award was established by the Ludington Family and Mariners’ Church in 1994.  Over the years over 90 Shipmasters have been recognized for their contributions to the maritime industry on the Great Lakes.  Detroit Lodge No. 7 has been honored to have a role in the selection process.

(click on photos to enlarge, and for additional description)

Church Altar
View of side altar with Captain
Ludington's ISMA Pennant
Wood carving in back of
church "Detroit in 1870"
Mariners' Church is on the
National Register of Historic Places
John Mantyk and Ray Oset
John Mantyk at the Octorara bell
Joe Walters, Bob S Dusseau,
Shipmasters in pews awaiting
Rt. Rev. Richard Ingalls
Memorial Window
Scott Reynolds reads biographies of
Ludington Award recipients
Dana Ludington presents Ludington
Award to Capt. Joe Walters  
Honor Gar as
Ka mariners
  Honor Guard on right side of altar
  John Mantykrue look on
Harry Dussick Scott and
Lynne Kogeiling vessel
Honor guard at attention
during the playing of taps



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