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Board member Early's love for the waterways happened at a young age. While sitting on the front steps of the family farm home, she witnessed her father helping rescue neighbors to higher ground by using his tractor to tow whatever belongings he could salvage. This event would later become known as the "Great '64 Flood," where many rivers became mini-oceans, engulfing everything in their path. This situation instilled her lifelong respect and fascination with waterways.
Early's father, Cal Wade, held a seat on the Marine Board in the 1970's, and through his service, she was exposed to boating issues in Oregon, while becoming proficient in operating drift boats and other watercraft on the Rogue River.
Early holds a U.S. Coast Guard Uninspected Passenger Vessel License. She also is an owner/operator of Early Fishing, Inc., a fishing guide service that is registered to operate in Oregon, California and Alaska.
In addition to Early's boating experience she has volunteered with many organizations on river conservation and habitat including the ODFW Fall Chinook Conservation Plan, USFS National Center for Wild and Scenic River Excellence Working Group, Chetco Watershed Council, Brookings Harbor Safe-N-Sober, and other outdoor events that promote fishing, conservation and safety.
Early hopes that through her role on the Marine Board, she's able to inspire current and future generations to take responsibility for their behavior, become stewards of the waterways and to increase participation in clean boating programs. Early desires working cooperatively to resolve issues between boating groups and would like to be a part of the conversation that seeks solutions through education or other interventions before asserting more regulations.
Laura began her love for boating in 3rd grade, when her parents bought a cruising sailboat. That summer she learned to sail an El Toro in San Francisco Bay. Throughout junior high and high school, she sailed with her family and grew her skills in racing dinghies. In high school and college, she became a national-caliber sculler. Beyond school, she competed for a seat on the US Rowing team, and took up kayak racing. Today, one of her mottoes is "any seat, any boat, any time."
Serving the community is also a theme in Ms. Jackson's life. Whether working for a government agency, serving on various citizen advisory committees, of volunteering for a cause, she seeks to give back to the communities that have given her so much. She is currently President of the Oaks Park Community Boathouse in Portland, and has served as a youth rowing and paddling coach. She also volunteers at The Oregon Humane Society in their Second Chance team, where she also works in their volunteer administration group.
As a Marine Board member, she hopes to work in a collaborative environment to create ways to share our waterways and find a means to reach the group of boaters who do not realize they are boaters (e.g. SUP and kayak paddlers). As a participant in many aspects of boating, she is keenly aware of safety issues, especially those related to conflict between user types and would like to find ways to resolve these challenges through education and courtesy rather than more regulation.
Withee is a retired Civil Engineer who relocated to Bend in 2013 after spending over 30 years of his professional career in Alaska. After becoming a paraplegic from a car accident in 1969, Withee completed his college education with a Bachelor's Degree in Civil Engineering in 1973 and a Master's Degree in Environmental Engineering in 1975 from the University of Colorado. His 38-year professional career was spent in Facilities Engineering, operations, and management for the Department of Army and the Federal Aviation Administration.
Throughout his life, Withee has maintained a love for the outdoors, especially for boating, cruising, fishing and hunting. He's owned and operated many motorized and non-motorized boats in lakes, rivers and the ocean, including Alaska bush country, busy ocean harbors, and large river drainages. Withee's outdoor enthusiasm has continued into retirement with boating on the high lakes and rivers in Central Oregon and the coastal communities in Reedsport, Florence, and Newport. Most of his outdoor experiences have included his wheelchair, which has not hampered his pursuit for life and adventure.
Withee says, "Whether it was floating remote waters, jet boating whitewater rapids, or cruising in a bay, boating has always provided me with challenges, serenity, camaraderie and fulfillment over the years. Life for me would have been incomplete if those opportunities were not available."
I still remember that day my Dad brought home our first boat. It was an eight-foot row boat but to me and my four siblings, it was the Queen Mary! We had a pond across the street from our home and we spent many summer days out in that boat. A few years later, Dad surprised us with our first runabout. I still remember getting to drive it on our test run. From that day on, my love for the water was born!
As I've grown older, boating remains a very special part of my family's life and the memories we create. It didn't take long for me to realize that having a boat is a great tool of fellowship and I began to volunteer with a few of the local youth group camps and retreats, offering to take kids out on the water. I found that providing kids the same opportunity given to me and teaching them about different watersports fueled a new desire in me. Fast forward to 2012, I saw a Facebook post about a guy from North Carolina who created a program called "Wake the World," which took kids from children's homes out boating for a day to expose them to watersports. His story was so inspiring; I decide to start a chapter here in Oregon! Starting out with 24 boats, Wake the World Oregon was born and our volunteer flotilla treated 125 foster kids for a day on the water they would never forget.
Just like me, others who were a part of our original event were so inspired they spread the "Wake the World Oregon" events to other areas of the state on their own! We currently have nine events each year, all over Oregon and Washington, serving hundreds of foster kids and their families. With the added responsibility of being a coordinator for these events, I want to make sure that boating safety is a high priority. I decided to become more involved with the Marine Board to learn the ins and outs of boating laws, policies, and planning. I started out volunteering as a member of the Marine Board's Watersports Boat Oregon Advisory Committee in 2016. With over 45 years of boating experience and a passion to help keep boating safe for all who use our waterways, I hope to offer my voice and experience to the Board in making decisions that impact recreational boating. I look forward to representing the watersports community and finding ways to improve boating enjoyment for all!
Castronovo works as a Project Manager for a flooring company (over 29 years) and in addition to riding waves, also serves as a pet rescue to nine critters.
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