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Letters: Thanks for Saving A Life
'An example of the best humankind''
June 18, 2024

sailor and frequent visitor writes with praise and thanks to Cari Anne Lewis, former dockmaster at Oriental Harbor Marina. Her last day was this past Friday, June 14.

My name is Tim Akey. It recently came to my attention that late in February an anonymous letter was sent to Ceri Anne Lewis, Dock Master of the Oriental Harbor Village Marina, with a copy sent to City Hall, disparaging her position in the LGBT community.

Though my permanent address is in St. Louis, I also spend time living on a boat. About a year ago, my wife and I moved our new-to-us-boat to the Oriental Harbor Village Marina to finish up some projects with the intention of doing the Northern part of American’s Great Loop in order to get the boat back to our home in St. Louis.

We have spent several months in Oriental during the years we lived and traveled full time on our sailboat. It is one of our favorite places. Our experience with the people of the town was a joy. Those working in The Bean, the hotel, the store, and people we just met in the street were all helpful and friendly.

When we tied up to the dock this last time we met Ceri Anne. She instantly struck me as unique, caring, and helpful. I don’t normally make friends very easily but Ceri Anne quickly became one.

After we got settled in, my wife and I started working down the list of projects needing done before leaving. A few weeks in, we were doing some work in the cockpit. I felt a little “off” but didn’t think too much about it. I thought I was just tired from the work we had been doing so I went to take a break in the salon. But it turned out I was in the first stages of a cardiac arrest.

I collapsed in the salon unconscious. A few minutes later I struggled my way back to consciousness—weak, disoriented, soaked in sweat, barely able to communicate, and in the worst pain I have ever experienced. Yet, for some reason, I kept telling my wife I was okay. Her first call was to Ceri Anne, who was on the boat with us within minutes.

Ceri Anne took one look at me and made the decision to call 911. She stayed by my wife’s side until the ambulance arrived, then helped get me off the boat and to the care I needed. Her quick and decisive decision making and knowledge of the support available in Oriental literally saved my life. As I recovered, Ceri Anne was constantly available to help us in any way she could.

Barely a month later, my wife fell in the parking lot and broke her right wrist. The injury was bad enough to require surgery and several weeks of recovery. Ceri Anne was, once again, there to help in any way she could.

She is an example of the best humankind is capable of being.

Tim Akey
MV First Light
St. Louis, Missouri

Posted Tuesday June 18, 2024 by Allison DeWeese

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