A lot of people show their remarkable quality and talent by sharing a particular passion with others -- be that a vocation, a hobby, a quest, or perhaps seeking a solution to a problem or issue. Recreational boaters, for example, are benefiting through the recent accomplishments of two men who each have a passion for the outdoors and who uniquely crafted their own answer to a specific question.
West Milton resident Tom Mayor once was asked by his young son what makes a river a (designated) scenic river. Dad did not have a capable answer. As a result, Mayor embarked upon a lengthy effort and enlisted the support of the Division of Watercraft and others as he learned about Ohio's scenic rivers. The eventual reply to his son's question came after a three-year effort that led to filming and production of a 95-minute documentary titled "Call of the Scenic River: An Ohio Journey."
The film was first released publicly in January through special premier screenings to small audiences in various communities around Ohio. Mayor, owner of The Message Shop in West Milton, is working in partnership with Rivers Unlimited to handle primary distribution and DVD sales of his film. He has released the public performance rights so that local groups may host paid public film screenings and retain the proceeds of DVD sales in their efforts to raise awareness about water quality.
The second man is Camby, Indiana, resident and retired U.S. Marine Corps Major Jeff Thompson, who suffers from a degenerative spinal disc disease. The former fighter pilot and test pilot chose not to give up his passion for sport fishing. He instead decided to fight through his disabling condition so that he and possibly others could skipper their own fishing boat unaided and stay active on the water.
Working on an idea he conceived with a business partner and with assistance from Ranger Boats, the Fish'n Rail Removable Security System became a reality two years ago. Fish'n Rail consists of a removable tubular stainless steel handicap-accessible rail system that can be installed on certain fishing boats.
"The idea of doing something for our wounded warriors returning from military service and others who are faced with mobility challenges looking again to enjoy recreational boating and fishing is the motivation behind this innovative design," Thompson said in 2010 during an interview with Buckeye Boater.
Thompson's most recent update is that rights to the sale, marketing, and manufacture of the Fish'n Rail system have been sold to EPCO Corporation (Ft. Wayne, IN), which has been in the stainless steel manufacturing business for more than 50 years. EPCO is a vendor for many boat manufacturers including Ranger Boats.
"Now, with clearance from my surgeon, I hope to enter the BASS PVA Tournament Trail to demonstrate the usefulness of The Fish'n Rail system and promote Operation Troop Salute throughout the series while fishing from my Ranger 521, in addition to speaking at motivational meetings on hope for spinal cord injuries," says Thompson.