Thu, 10/31/2019 - 9:00pm

‘With gratitude and joy’

To the Editor:

As I compose my thoughts this morning, Harbor Church celebrates the beginning of our 255th year on Block Island. Oct. 23, 1765 is the anniversary of our founding as a congregation, a date that is the basis for our annual Roll Call Sunday and Roll Call Dinner.

This great tradition began in 1900 with an appeal from the pastor to the congregation for help with a $700 shortfall in the budget, and has evolved into the wonderful event that we celebrated on Tuesday night. It has also grown beyond our church into a much larger tradition that has been embraced by our entire town. Having just completed my first year as the new pastor of Harbor Church, I’m  overwhelmed with gratitude and joy for the privilege of serving this small church on this small island where hearts are so large and hands are so willing. At least half the people who baked pies or turkeys, who prepped and cooked and cleaned are not members of Harbor Church. Thank you. Thank you once again for affirming our church as an integral part of our community.

Special thanks to Diane Tripler, Don Frageau, and Emma Rose Tripler for leading the team.

Blessings and peace to you all,

Pastor Peter Preiser

Harbor Church


‘I will always be grateful’

To the Editor:

On Friday, Sept. 20 I was on a stand up paddle board north of Clay Head as a hurricane swell from Humberto, located far to the east, rolled ashore. A huge wave caught me and slammed me on the ocean bottom, instantly fracturing my pelvis in a couple places. My right leg was totally compromised so my best option was to head to shore. Over time I got the attention of my brother-in-law, Matt Kirby, and explained that I needed help. There was no way I could walk. Matt paddled back out — a boat was hailed, a call to 911, and connection to the Block Island Fire and Rescue was made. Immediately dispatchers Nell Barnicoat and Beth Rousseau sent a call out that a surfer was in distress somewhere north of Mansion Beach. Matt, my brother-in-law Jerry Kirby and son-in-law Andrew Burlingame came ashore to help, while our friend Ferris Hamilton returned to the boat to maintain communications with the rescuers on shore.

Jaixen Hall was the first Block Islander to reach me and he immediately shed his shirts to help keep me warm. Jaixen had run north from Mansion trying to determine exactly where I made landfall and then communicated my location and condition to other rescue personnel. The second Block Island person to reach me was EMT Jordan Ryan, who arrived with a back board to strap me on and carry me out. Jaixen, Jordan, Jerry, and Andrew started the long walk south along very difficult terrain while Matt went back out to our boat to get shoes for the surfers and blankets to keep me warm. Soon EMTs Aisha Wilson-Formica and Clair Stover arrived and they helped carry me while monitoring my condition. As we made our way south to the waiting ATV and ambulance, more and more volunteers arrived to assist in carrying me south, including fellow surfers who left the water to help. By far the most difficult part of the trip was the long walk south to the ATV over rugged terrain but I knew every step they took got me closer to higher care. The transition from ATV to ambulance went smoothly. Dr. Mark Clark and RN Linda Closter were at the clinic awaiting my arrival. They quickly confirmed my pelvis was fractured and ordered a helicopter to bring me to R.I. Hospital, where the damage was surgically corrected on Monday, Sept. 23.

A lot of things went well for me on that day. My surgeon has told me repeatedly that I almost died and he has no idea how I made it to shore with these injuries. I was fortunate to be with experienced, brave people who stabilized me and initiated a rescue. I was lucky to have this injury happen on Block Island, where an extremely dedicated and professional group of volunteers regularly drop whatever they are doing in order to provide assistance to an unknown person in need. Block Islanders have been saving seamen in distress along their shores for hundreds of years and while these acts of rescue might seem “normal” to them, I was overwhelmed by the size of the effort and the care that all displayed for my health. My parents live on Block Island year-round and my sense is that islanders have a real commitment to community and are eager to assist their fellow mankind in a time of need. An example would be Policeman Tom Pennell, who went through great efforts to find my folks, Peter and Sandy Greenman, so he could “break the news.” Eventually he found them getting off the ferry with my sister, who was visiting from Colorado. Tom explained the situation and consequently I got to see Mom, Dad and Sally before boarding the helicopter. Surely, living on an island contributes to this thoughtfulness and camaraderie but I think the people of New Shoreham take it to another level and this should be recognized and applauded.

In addition to those named above, the following people contributed to my well-being and deserve recognition. If I’ve unknowingly left anyone out, please accept my thanks.

Fire Dept.: Mike Ernst, Kirk Littlefield, Chris Hobe, Paul Quackenbush, Joe Pokraka, Nick Phillips, Jostin Blanco, Andrew McGarry, and Tristan Payne.

Rescue: Julie Conant, David Roosa and Nick Phillips.

Police: Joe DeMatteo and Tom Pennell.

Harbor Dept.: Steve Land and Josh de los Santos.

My folks tell me that a day doesn’t go by without someone asking about my condition and offering their prayers. This means a lot to my parents, my family and me. I’m rehabbing well and totally dedicated to a full recovery, which would not have been possible without the initial rescue from the rocky shores of Block Island. I will always be grateful for the selfless acts of so many. Thank you very much.

Chris Greenman

Providence, R.I.


‘Cavalier attitude’

To the Editor:

In the Aug. 9, 2017 edition of The Block Island Times it was reported by the then-superintendent, the Chairman of the School Committee, the school’s architect, and the Facilities Manager that the school façade was “very clean, no rot, no rodents.”

And yet in the Sept. 28, 2019 edition of The Times it was reported a contract had been awarded to Pariseault Builders of Warwick, R.I., to renovate the façade for an approximate cost of $200,000.

There is something terribly wrong here when a little over two years ago the façade was deemed to be in fine condition, when it was not, and now it will cost (at least) an estimated $200,000.

This cavalier attitude by the aforementioned parties is an insult to the taxpayers of Block Island.

When you defer maintenance, the problem only gets worse.


Geoffrey Lawrence

Old Town Road


Looking for the 4,000th donor

To the Editor:

Our final blood drive of the year will be on Thursday, Nov. 7 at Harbor Baptist Church from 1 to 5 p.m. All donors will be entered to win a pair of Patriots’ tickets.

Please keep these things in mind:

 - We encourage all high school students to donate. Ages 16 and 17 may donate with parents’ permission. Forms are available at the Block Island School office.

  - Anyone age 17 and older can donate. There is no upper-age cutoff.

  - Bring your driver’s license

  - Those who have had Lyme disease or cancer may be eligible to donate.

 - Call (401) 453-8307 if you have questions of eligibility.

 - You can make an appointment by visiting www.ribc.org. Appointments are taken before walk-ins.

Please make every effort to make this last drive of the year. One of the donors will be the 4,000th donor in the 40 years drives have been held on the island.

Peter Greenman, Coordinator

Rhode Island Blood Center