Mike Wolfe "The River Queen Refit" Emblem
River Queen Replica Emblem Story
The story begins as I was exploring Mike Wolfe’s website, www.mikewolfe.us. I came across “The River Queen Registry”. When I clicked on Scott Fortier’s and Shari Young’s “see details” button, I saw a picture of Scott’s original River Queen emblem mounted proudly on their boat. Below the picture Mike had written, “Wish I had two of these. Alas, I have none …”. As I read those overly dramatic words that my good friend had written, I was struck by what were obviously very painful and sorrowful feelings. I could also hear what sounded like a grown man whimpering. I knew right then that I needed to try and do what I could to ease his pain and suffering. I also needed to somehow stop my friend from whimpering. I knew that Scott has been a long time friend of Mike’s and that the whimpering was probably bothering him too. Maybe if I pointed out to Scott that the whimpering and the suffering would stop if Scott simply gave his emblems to Mike. I decided to email Scott and give it a shot. I shared my idea with Scott and he immediately replied and said that Mike’s whimpering really doesn’t bother him. However, Scott said that he is a skilled woodworker and that he would be willing to make Mike a River Queen emblem out of wood. He also said he would send one of his original emblems to let Mike touch and hold. He felt this would be a special thrill for Mike because of his love for River Queen’s and their history.
When the package from Scott arrived I couldn’t contain my excitement. I ripped open the wrapper and was shocked to find an unpainted piece of plywood 24 inches wide and 5 inches tall with the words “River Queen” neatly written on it with a black marker pen. My first thought was that Deborah is not going to let Mike mount that on their boat. My next thought was where is Scott’s original River Queen emblem that Mike is going to being able to touch & hold? Upon closer examination I saw 4 screws driven through the plywood into a 2 X 4 below. I removed the 4 screws and there it was! An original cast aluminum River Queen emblem attached with 2 screws to the 2 X 4. What a sight. I immediately got goose bumps thinking about what a thrill this was going to be for Mike. What a great friend Mike has in Michigan.
Before too long, my goose bumps disappeared and the excitement wore off. I looked at the plywood emblem Scott had proudly made & I knew that although this might look good in Michigan, it wasn’t going to be appropriate for Mike & Deb’s California River Queen. The wheels in my head started to turn and I came up with an idea. I could go to a foundry and they could pour castings for me. I could get replica River Queen emblems made. If I could do that then Mike wouldn’t just have the memory of touching and holding Scott’s emblem. He would have his own emblem to touch and feel anytime he wanted! Brilliant!!!!!!
I emailed Scott and asked him if he would mind if I used his emblem as a pattern for a foundry to make molds. He said that he wouldn’t mind a bit and he agreed that my idea was indeed, brilliant. I worked at a foundry as a young man so I knew they could do it if they had the original emblem to copy for the pattern. I got a quote of $198.00 for the pattern and $145.00 each for the emblems. Grand total of $588.00. I told Anita, my better half, how much it was going to cost and she said “Are you out of your mind?” I know from past experience that, when translated, she was really saying, “what a brilliant idea Michael. You are amazing. Let’s do it!” I made the decision right then that this was going to happen. Sometimes when the wheels in my brain are turning really fast I begin to question my ability to translate correctly and the decisions I am making. I decided to call our good friends Bob & Marlene Burk. The Burks are good friends of the Wolfe’s too, so I asked Bob what he thought of the plan and the cost. Bob thought it was a great idea too, just like Anita. Then the wheels in his brain started to turn and he offered to pay half the cost.
With the wheels in my head still turning really fast, I remembered that another friend of ours, Don Barry, has a River Queen boat right here in Stockton. I thought that maybe he might like to buy a couple of emblems and help defray the cost of the pattern charge. I called Don and explained what I was up to and he said he would like to have a couple made too. Then I told him how much they were going to cost and he said maybe he would just get one and put it on the “good side” of his boat. Then the wheels in Don’s head began to turn. He remembered that he knows a guy with a small foundry that might be able to do them cheaper. He said he would talk to the guy and get back to me.
The next day, Don Barry called me and said he talked to Eric Johnson at the foundry and Eric said he would make the emblems for $100.00 each. There wouldn’t be a pattern charge because they would just screw Scott’s emblem onto the pattern board. Don & I went to the foundry and after a couple tries they successfully produced five aluminum castings for us. We gave two to Mike & Deb, two for Don and one extra to be used as a pattern for additional emblems if needed later. After some grinding, sanding, polishing and several coats of paint they turned out great.
This story was embellished considerably for humor’s sake. The truth is that Scott Fortier has been trying for years, with no luck, to find original River Queen emblems for Mike Wolfe. The plywood was just used to protect his emblem in shipping. Scott showed remarkable faith and courage by sending me his emblem and allowing it to be used as a pattern. He did it because of his profound friendship for Mike. Because of Scott’s willingness to trust me, somebody he has never met, Mike & Deb Wolfe now have something pretty special for their boat.
Thank you Scott!
Additionally, I want to thank the others who made this possible:
Bob & Marlene Burk, Don Barry, Eric Johnson and Anita Saucier.
First contact with Scott – Nov. 22nd. 2009
Finished product – Dec. 31st. 2009
Total Days = 40
Mr. Michael Haverty
Thank you to everyone involved in this project! Your friendships are dear to me. Your efforts honor and inspire me. mnw : )
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