Randy Harwood Memorial Service Award
The Mid Hudson Rowing Association Randy Harwood Memorial Service Award honors members who have provided exceptional service to MHRA over time.
Recipients display the following attributes which were exemplified by Randy Harwood:
- Promote the mission of MHRA
- Foster enthusiasm for the sport of rowing
- Contribute to the day to day operation of the club
Randy Harwood Remembered
By John Mylod
The Randy Harwood Memorial Service Award, first presented in 2008, was created to honor the memory of Randy Harwood, a member of the Mid- Hudson Rowing Association for many years, who so readily represented the core values of the Association and who died of cancer.
Randy was exceptional. He was a born volunteer. He was ready to help at the slightest flicker of need.
In fact, Randy was a volunteer at the Springside National Historic Landmark in Poughkeepsie when he learned about the Learn-to- Row program at MHRA. After that, he was hooked on crew. Among his many other interests Randy loved Adirondack camping, canoeing, tennis, volleyball, hiking, and hacking away with axe and machete at the brush and underbrush at Springside.
Not surprisingly, Randy promoted MHRA at every turn. He was there at sun-up to help with stake boats, or after work to make repairs to the boathouse roof at the Psychiatric Center (now Quiet Cove State Park) which was then home for MHRA.
Whether building floats and ramps, installing them every year, sweeping out the boathouse, loading the shell carrier, or jumping into a shell to make a full boat even after already having rowed ten miles, Randy was there for his fellow club members.
Perhaps one of his greatest contributions was the initiative and willingness to encourage new members by taking them out to row in the old,green, heavy, but stable, double and instilling in them an eagerness to become more involved. No matter what the job or need, Randy was ready and willing to help. From sweeping the boathouse to sweep rowing at the Head of the Fish and leading the cheers at the post-race dinner at the end of the day. He was a promoter of the annual "Island Row," later the Mills Row, and many other opportunities to include food in MHRA events or work days.
That was Randy. Friendly, funny, enthusiastic, passionate, caring, accomplished, self-effacing, fun-loving and sorely missed.
As the first honoree, with John Mylod, of the Randy Harwood Memorial Service Award, I am pleased to present the 2014 award to Michael Griffin.
Michael first came to Mid-Hudson in 2002 as a learn-to-row (LTR) participant, after his wife Jonni attended a session and suggested he give it a try too. The story goes that Mike would try a new sport about every ten years, and after skiing, cycling, and kayaking, rowing was next on his list. It has been more than ten years since Mike caught the “rowing bug,” so I guess this one is it!
I recall that during the LTR class, Mike brought his kayak to Quiet Cove one weekend to practice his kayak-roll skills in the Cove. Although we were impressed with his ability to roll the kayak over completely, we advised him that we usually try not to do the same thing with our rowing shells…Mike believed us eventually, but only after he tried it a time or two in his single!
Mike has been a diligent, handy, resourceful, and generous volunteer for the club, but he had a rather frustrating start with the Mid-Hudson LTR. Let me tell you a story about that. During the early LTR days at Quiet Cove, John Mylod and I taught many of the classes together. During the session that Mike attended, for some reason, one of our club eights was unavailable for one of the first weekend classes, possibly it was on loan for a high school race. Anyway, John and I were left to scramble to give all twelve LTR participants an opportunity to row, using the one boat remaining. John and I concocted a plan to put half the class in the shell, and the rest would ride in his big launch to learn while watching; we planned to swap the rowers from his launch to the shell for the return trip. In the confusion of getting so many novices on the water, John and I made the mistake of going out with the tide, making the return trip very long and slow (novice rowers remember!). I am not sure Mike will ever forgive me for that session! He was one of the few that spent more time in the launch than the shell, and boy oh boy was he unhappy about that! Later, Jonni shared with me that Mike reported he had a “horrible time” and was uncertain about returning to us at all. She must have been quite convincing, because return he did, to give us, and rowing another try… and Mid-Hudson has benefited greatly by his return.
Since that first poor impression, Mike clearly has grown to love rowing; he practiced sweep rowing diligently, and soon learned to scull as well. Later, he used his engineering and “tinkering” skills to positive benefit for us all, as he worked with Randy to make repairs on the building, boat racks, and dock at Quiet Cove, and then, with several other club members, and on his own, to repair and improve our equipment. For instance, the nifty bow lights we use on our sweep and sculling boats are Mike’s handiwork. Later still, Mike trained to become a coach, and now is a well-respected high school coach, and a valued and thoughtful LTR and sculling coach for us.
Mike has been a thoughtful and generous volunteer in many ways, and come to think of it, he may have forgiven me for that early LTR mess after all, because he helped teach me how to drive the launch. I am notoriously nervous about power equipment, and when Mike saw Bill trying to teach me about the launch, he generously offered to teach me instead, quite rightly observing that the spousal lessons might end in divorce! So, off we went on a few summer evenings, with Mike bravely riding while I nervously drove, and Jonni took her single out for a spin. I recall him kindly suggesting that I could be more help to Jonni if I kept the launch close enough so she did not appear as a speck on the horizon!
Our club has reaped the benefit of Mike’s diligence to boat repair, and Jonni tells me that Mike looks for any excuse to work on them. Mike has replaced seat wheels and boat fins, and patched numerous holes in boats, so we owe many a rowing session to Mike’s handiwork.
Mike also has been a good ambassador for our club, by encouraging others to give us a try, including our current club president Hai Longworth, who learned to row with the other club, but came to Bill’s sculling clinic on Mike’s advice. Rick Longworth also came to Mid- Hudson, when Mike encouraged him to talk to our many engineer-members about ways to make rowing possible even with his surgically-repaired ankle. Mike may appear to want to be known as a taciturn engineer, but many have noticed that he is right in the mix of our club social events, eager to have fun and help others do the same.
Mike has served on the Mid-Hudson Board of Directors in several capacities, including club president during the challenging years when this boathouse was being built and the new rules established. I recall soon after that he claimed, “Never again” or, in Mike parlance, “Ain’t gonna happen!” but he just completed six more years on the Board, including as treasurer and vice president.
Most recently, Mike relinquished some of his precious sculling days to join seven other Mid- Hudson men to fill the Head of the Charles Regatta (HOCR) crew. And, he encouraged Linda to try coxing this challenging group of rowers in the most challenging coxswains’ race. I am sure Linda would say that Mike was a valuable resource for her as she improved her skills. As the coach of HOCR boat, I appreciated Mike’s willingness to take charge of the equipment preparation and maintenance, trailer loading, and many other details that made the event possible. I think he may have rather coached the crew than rowed in the boat, but I put my foot down on that one, reminding him it was a men's boat, so he had to row, while I got to coach!
Mike, the club values and appreciates your boat-fixing skills, your coaching, your good-natured banter, and your generous volunteerism that keeps us on the water and having fun. Thank you and congratulations!
Candy Davies, MHRA Coach and former Board member
William Davies, Jr. has embodied the core values of the Randy Harwood Award throughout his long history as a member of the Mid Hudson Rowing Association. He tirelessly promotes MHRA?s mission, fosters enthusiasm for the sport of rowing and contributes daily to the operation of the organization.
When Bill Davies stepped down in 2011 after ten years as president of Mid Hudson Rowing Association, he left a legacy of leadership and accomplishment that has added to the strength and well-being of the organization.
As a long-term member of the board and as president, Bill has always worked collaboratively with members of the board, the coaching staff and the members at large to advance MHRA?s mission. He set a tone of cooperation and maturity in his interactions with a diverse universe of organizations and individuals associated with the rowing community.
Bill increased the number of participating rowers and enlarged the club?s equipment inventory; he negotiated MHRA boathouse leases and used his diplomatic skills to ensure that operational details of daily use did not jeopardize the organization?s mission.
As a tireless advocate for rowing and for MHRA?s programs, Bill has used his exceptional skills to advance both on the Hudson River. After scores of phone calls and emails throughout his time at MHRA, he also has negotiated the sale and purchase of shells to other schools and clubs as well as endured the travel to deliver or pick up this equipment. The same attention to detail underscores Bill?s negotiations for the repair of equipment or his planning for the Mills Row, or making arrangements for participation at away races as well as staging them on the river.
And, when not shouldering all of his other club responsibilities over the past twenty years, Bill has been a competitive sculler and mentor for other scullers on the river. He has been providing master classes in sculling for many years and, from time to time, also coaches sweep rowing classes for recreational rowers.
Under his leadership, too, MHRA produced in 2011 a well-received film entitled: "A History of Rowing on the Hudson River.? This project also helps raise funds for High School crew programs.
Bill Davies and his wife, Candy Davies, also a rowing coach and competitor, have fostered a welcoming atmosphere for anyone wishing to learn how to row, have fun and relish their time on the river. Their significant gifts of time, energy, financial resources and talent to further the sport of rowing on the Hudson River have made the community a better place.
Therefore, for continuing to foster the spirit of volunteerism and dedication to the organization?s mission, it is a distinct honor for the Mid Hudson Rowing Association to present to William Davies, Jr. the 2012 Randy Harwood Award.
John has the longest standing membership in MHRA and embodies the characteristics identified in the Harwood Award.
John was MHRA president from the late 70's through 2001. He then served as treasurer for several years. In 1992, he began the community rowing program and purchased shells with money from a bequest of $5000 from an early member. In the fall of 1998, he signed an agreement for MHRA with Lourdes HS to share rack space in the Boathouse at what is now Quiet Cove Park. In addition to those roles he is the club historian, naturalist and environmental conscience.
When MHRA operated out of the Quiet Cove site, on any given weekend John would be there with a lawn mower, hedge trimmer or just a pair of work gloves to make sure the site looked the way it should. Every spring and fall John helped coordinate the installation or removal of the docks irregardless of the weather. (It doesn’t take long to get numb fingers making cotter pins fit when the river temperature is less than 50 degrees)
John fosters the sport of rowing through his continued commitment to Learn-to-Row programs. Every year, he encourages class participants both on and off the water. His patience and sense of humor has helped many of us master the basics and continue the pursuit our individual goals.
As a member of MHRA for 10 years, Candy Davies has worked steadily to build membership, make new members feel welcome and support the daily operation of the club through coaching and coxing.
She served on the Board of Directors for 6 years and held the positions of vice president and secretary.
This past year she volunteered as the club coach in addition to coordinating the Learn-To-Row (LTR) Program.
Candy’s most significant contribution was initiating MHRA participation in national Learn-To-Row Day starting in 2001 and using that event to transform our Learn-To-Row Program. Under her guidance LTR has grown into a highly regarded program which annually teaches adults form the community to row in 3 summer sessions. As a result, the LTR program has become and a major source of revenue for MHRA and the engine for growing club membership. She spends countless hours on the water and at the rowing tanks coaching Learn-To-Row, Learn-To-Scull, club rows and competitive women’s crews.
In addition to coaching, Candy has been the prime promoter of the club by creating club brochures, advertising on the radio and in the local paper and writing press releases following club events. She is the primary contact for the club phone and e-mail address and responds regularly to inquiries about our club and rowing from the community. She also coordinates shirt and jacket sales for the club to build team spirit.
Candy’s service has been a prime driver for the growth of MHRA and has enabled the club to teach the benefits of rowing to 100’s of people in the Hudson Valley