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September 13, 2005
Grapevine company lends its services to Katrina victims
by Tarrah Zimmerman
Grapevine Excursions could have spent the holiday weekend bringing in business, but they chose to pack up and head east to help out those they have never met. Victims of wind, rain and flooding are the people who need the service they hope to offer. 

On Friday morning September 2nd, five men gathered at 151 S. Dooley in Grapevine to make a long journey in hopes of helping the victims of Hurricane Katrina. They took along with them items like food, water, diapers, flashlights and many other supplies that so many desperately need. They planned to leave at 12:00pm starting the long drive towards New Orleans. 

You may ask what makes this trip different. Many people have gone to New Orleans over the past week to help. The difference, Grapevine Excursions didnít just send these men, they sent a duck. Well, not a duck, actually, a DUKW. Grapevine Excursions gives tours of Grapevine Lake on board these DUKWís, which are amphibious vehicles that were designed and built for use in World War II. The name Duck was adapted from General Motorsí vehicle identification, DUKW, a special code denoting the year of design, which was 1942. Known then as ĎTí boats, these vehicles are now used mostly for commercial tours and adventure-type rides on land and water. You can see where this is going. Since New Orleans is for the most part underwater, the DUKW may be a huge help since it can travel on land or on water. 

And these arenít just any men driving around his huge vehicle. These are very qualified men who have a great respect for water rescue. For starters, you have, Elliot Robertson, a Chief Supervisory Helmsperson and a United States Coast Guard Boat Captain, also the DUKW driver for Grapevine Excursions. Next, Herb Parsons is another licensed Boat Captain for the US Coast Guard. Then there is Max Miller, an Auxiliary Marine Administrative and Management Specialist with the Coast Guard Auxiliary, a volunteer agency. Mr. Miller is also the Project Manager and Safety Coordinator for Grapevine Excursions. Finally, J.R. Johnson as Director of Operations for the five man team and Brad Mercer who is a support volunteer. 

Each man brings his own qualifications that would impress anyone, but more importantly each one brings a desire to help those who need them most right now. Itís the spirit of these men that you feel in the air when you are with them. They want to help, they want to get out there, they want to do their part. Yes, of course their qualifications are important, but qualifications are often lost on those who choose not to use them for the good of human kind. These men are shining examples of what we all aspire to be, those give of our time, our energy and our resources and look beyond our own front door. We have all given something over the last week. Maybe you gave a monetary donation, bottles of water, or maybe cans of food. These men gave away time with their families, a holiday weekend, and took time from their own jobs to be there. 

Brother Skylar (3 years) Blake (1 year) bring supplies to help victims...
To read more about the Grapevine Excursions or the DUKWís vist their web site. 

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