'M' is for 'Miracle'
We at ORCA needed one – a BIG ‘M’ -- a miracle, that is. It was, we concluded, after months of searching for numerous external engine parts for Malie (MAH’-lee-(y)eh), ORCA’s 32’ sea-going vessel, the only way ORCA’S offshore programs could proceed. Malie’s inboard engine/transmission and v-drive would have to be replaced – an expensive, time-consuming and seemingly daunting task, particularly in the times of charitable paucity we were experiencing after 9/11.
Our miracle came – serendipitously enough – in many forms. Apropos to our need for a BIG ‘M’, leading the pack of corporate ‘angels’ was another ‘M’. Or rather, 2 M’s: MERCURY MARINE – ORCA’s ‘White Knight’.
ORCA’s volunteers had done their research. We learned that there are very few manufacturers of inboard engines – a fact that narrowed ORCA’s chances of having an engine donated.
So, we contacted one of those manufacturers -- Mercury Marine. We spoke with numerous supervisors and managers of individual departments, all of which had been incredibly kind, who passed us on to other departments to see if there was anything the Company would be willing to do for our organization.
Eventually, finding the correct division, we were offered a very generous savings off the retail price of the engine/transmission/V-drive combination we needed. In addition, recognizing that ORCA would have to seek grant funding, which might be long in coming, Mercury would also be willing to send out the inboard now and ORCA’s first payment on it would be deferred until we found funding.
Working with Mercury much more intensely now, and with ORCA’s local professional sponsor Chris Russell Marine Services to better clarify the exact system we would need.
Ultimately, hat in hand, we approached Mercury Marine again, and asked whether it would be possible for Mercury Marine to increase our savings beyond that originally offered. Feeling it worth a try, a formal grant request was sent shortly thereafter.
After several weeks of ORCA volunteers sitting on ‘tenterhooks’, Mercury Marine contacted us with astounding news. OUR GRANT REQUEST HAD BEEN AWARDED IN FULL! For weeks thereafter, ORCA volunteers spoke of nothing else but the extreme generosity of such a company!
All that we needed to fulfill ORCA’s dream were existing engine and engine room photos and measurements, which we obtained post haste and faxed to the proper Mercury Marine officials.
When the inboard arrived at Chris Russell’s shop, we all dashed over to admire it. It was magnificent! As an added bonus, it’s mechanically engineered to be extremely ‘user friendly’. The new 8.1S Horizon with transmission and Hurth V-Drive has all the major routine maintenance components (fluids, plugs, filters and exhaust system) easily accessible. Those volunteers who compressed their bodies into a tiny hold to make repairs on Malie’s original 1969 engine were ecstatic!
After the engine arrived, our local professional sponsors, who generously donated their services – Chris Russell Marine Services, Anacapa Marine Services, SEABOARD MARINE and Channel Coast Marine – started working their magic during Malie’s re-powering. ORCA product sponsors – Teleflex Marine, W.H. Salisbury, Michigan Wheel Corporation, Trident Marine Systems, Midland Metals Manufacturing Company, Buck Algonquin Company, PYI, Inc., Sure Power, Wilmington Propeller and Fasco Fastener Company – also played major roles in donating much needed – and quite expensive – parts and equipment to complete this re-power. ORCA volunteers also contributed extensively in time and effort to make this whole dream a reality.
Our future success with ORCA’s offshore programs will, forever more, be indebted to the above sponsor’s for all there extremely generous contributions!!!!