And thank you to our sponsors and inspirations for so many years here at the annual Hugh Heward Challenge, the Verlen Kruger Memorial Committee, along with all their family members, that not only shared their loved ones with the work, but jumped in did the work alongside them. And still do.
Last year I was so thrilled when Stacy Smith and the others involved in making the Hugh Heward a success announced they had created an award in my father’s name, specifically to honor those in the paddling community who work behind the scenes to make things like the Hugh, the Quiet Water Symposium, and the Verlen Kruger Memorial possible.
This year’s winner has done all three, and many more. But unless you knew this person yourself, you might never pick them out of a crowd as one of the movers and shakers.
That’s what it means to work behind the scenes – quietly, without expectation of notice, applause, or rewards – and this year’s winner, Nancy Anderson, exemplifies these qualities perfectly.
She is a doer – quiet and reserved, a real get-it-done person. Charlie Parmelee, who met Nancy when he was rec chair at the Lansing Oar and Paddle Club, talked to me about Nancy’s involvement in LOAPC and the many paddles they did together.
Later, she became the rec chair for LOAPC, and her participation in the paddling community just took off. She was AVID, Charlie said. “They don’t call her ‘paddlemom’ for nothin’.”
Jay Hanks told me about a time LOAPC came close to dissolving with the break up of the rowers. Nancy called Jay – again, working behind the scenes – and together they were able to keep the club going.
Gary DeKock told me about the first time he met Nancy, at the second Hugh Heward Challenge.
“I did not know Nancy prior to that day and, in my ignorance, I assumed that she would soon fall behind our group. That was never the case. That morning it rained so hard that we couldn’t see where the air ended and the water began. John and I stopped under a bridge for some relief. Nancy stopped just to keep us company–she didn’t mind a little rain. Nancy knew the river well, and every time John and I took a shallow channel, we saw her up ahead in faster, deeper water.”
Earlier today, Bud Hart used this expression
to describe Nancy: Still waters run deep. Think about that for a moment. How perfect it is, both as a description of this year’s winner as a person, and the way she makes her contribution.
The Hugh happened because of a collaboration between Nancy Anderson and my father. I’d like him to tell you about that now.
Jim’s remarks, approximately:
When I had finished the hand-printed draft of the Hugh Heward story “Across Lower Michigan by Canoe 1790” on yellow-dog paper I showed it to Charlie Parmelee and he said “Give it to me and I’ll get it word-processed.” Eventually I learned that he had conned Nancy Anderson into doing the job. Some time later I went out to Nancy’s home in the boonies and consulted with her on the project. I acknowledge Nancy’s role in the “1790” introduction. Take a look.
I know Nancy has been a vital cog in the annual Quiet Water Symposium for all the years I was active. I believe she also was one of the original 5 paddlers in the first Hugh Heward Challenge ramrodded by Verlen. (I think they had to take refuge under the Waverly Road bridge because of a lightning storm). Those were the days when the Hugh was from Burchfield Park to the dead-end of Erdman Road. Nancy’s husband drove the traveling “Blue Loo” privy trailer at some of the early Hughs. I think I have seen Nancy at every Hugh Heward Challenge.
So today, Nancy, I’m mighty proud.