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Heroic Rescue by Ida May Volunteer Shipbuilders

John Dupre and Bill Shepard Give CPR and Save Life of Volunteer

Two volunteers working on the Ida May Project acted quickly and applied CPR to another volunteer and kept him alive until a police officer arrived on the scene with a defibrillator and shocked his heart back into action. When the man fainted to the floor, John Dupre of Centre Island and Bill Shepard of Huntington went to work giving him CPR to keep him breathing: John doing compressions and Bill giving mouth to mouth resuscitation.

John Dupre, who learned CPR in health class at St. Dominic’s, looked for the pulse and immediately started the critical chest compressions. It was the first time he used the skill. “I was glad Bill Shephard and Herb Shierhorst were there to help. It was nerve-wracking. But then Sgt. Clark showed up with the defibrillator and was there to help me. He showed up pretty quickly,” said John.

Sgt. Michael Clark of the Old Brookville Police Department had heard the call on his police car radio and quickly responded to J Building on West End Avenue to help.

The Oyster Bay Fire Company No. 1 arrived at the scene and took the man to Syosset Hospital.

Clint Smith, president of the Oyster Sloop Christeen Preservation Corporation and The Ida May Project said, “He is an artist. He comes in when he can. He was helping with the painting. He was in the other day and is looking good. He had three stents put in.”

Volunteer John Dupre

Mr. Dupre’s family has lived in Oyster Bay – “like forever.” They lived on Highwood Road and later Ivy Street and now on Centre Island. His volunteering at the Ida May Project was via the Oyster Festival. Mr. Dupre said, “I came down during the Oyster Festival and talked to Clint Smith and he told me they were going to be starting this project and said to drop by.

“I’m lucky enough to be able to take time off, I’m on flex time – I make up for it on the weekends.” He works in his father’s management company. John attended Salve Regina College in Rhode Island and was an Interactive Communications Technology major.

He said at the Ida May Project, he does whatever needs to be done: sawing up wood, putting up frames, painting things. He’s done some carpentry in the course of working with his dad’s property management company. He’s brought his girlfriend down to work on the Ida May. “Casey Sullivan (of Huntington) has volunteered a couple of times, but she has a hard time because of her work schedule with Arizona Tea which is pretty demanding. She likes working with the Ida May too.”

Mr. Dupre said he was a boating person. “Yeah, you can say that – after growing up in Oyster Bay. I’ve been on other people’s boats. I haven’t owned one of my own, but people say that’s the way to go.”

Wall Street Volunteer

The Ida May attracts a great many people with differing backgrounds who find the project worthwhile. One of them is Jim Brannigan of Syosset. He worked on the Christeen last winter. It was a totally different project, he said.

The Christeen was being restored as they replaced the keel that was the only piece remaining from the original boat. It was rotting and needed to be replaced. Interestingly, that keel was not a solid piece of wood but was cobbled together in areas. The new keel is a solid piece, as is the keel of the new Ida May.

This was the first opportunity for Mr. Brannigan to work as a boat builder. “I worked on Wall Street. This is fun. Where do you get to see something like this.

“Just to see one of these guys working is amazing. People look for the big things, but it’s the small things that are so important. The curve of the ribs that will support the deck is fascinating.”

Each piece, he said, was individually created with its own curves that will allow the deck to rest on it. The outside was even more important to have each curve be the right shape, he said.

“There was a table set up so Dave [master shipbuilder] could lay out all the patterns to do this. It was fascinating to watch them put this together. You don’t see anything like this, particularly in wood.

“Working on the Christeen was an interesting experience – but she was all there, all assembled. I wasn’t there when they built the original Christeen – I was still working. I missed that but caught it the second time around. But this is different.”

Mr. Brannigan said with a winning smile, “I crew on the Christeen all summer. Free boat rides on the Christeen, how can you beat this.”

There will be sails aboard the Ida May for the public when she is completed. She will be able to travel at night into the Long Island Sound, under power, giving her a great deal of flexibility.

Money Is Tight

How are things going financially right now? “Not too good,” said Clint Smith, “we have a committee looking for donors that is working on it. We’re trying to get some money in. We had a good start, Billy Joel took us over the top with a grant of $125,000 and we had two state grants and now we’ve come to the end of that with just enough money left for paying for the facilities and we are working with the volunteers now.

“We hope to get re-started as soon as possible. It’s been a little bit of a lay-off but I have a funny feeling that we will do pretty good.

“The committee is also working on two grants in NYC, a group that works with underprivileged kids. We’d like to get them out here on the boat.

“Save history and have education at the same time,” he said. It’s a good combination and a good slogan.

Visitors Welcome

Mr. Smith said, “We’ve gotten the word out that people are welcome to come and see what we are doing here. We leave the gate open and we are here Tuesdays and Thursdays.”

The hurricane fence has a gate that is left ajar on the right side of the building, next to the comfort station. Guests can walk up the stairs to the door, knock and enter.

“People are welcomed to come down and get a little idea of what is happening down here.

“There is plenty of work to do. We have plenty of wood to work on. We have tons as you can see,” said Clint.

Standing next to some giant downed trees was master shipbuilder David Short. The trunks are a donated by local arborists: Wonderland Trees, Taylor Trees and Pierre Marchais. The logs are trimmed down using their portable lumber saw into planks for the ship.

For more information you can call 305-9204.