In the past year we’ve had two Captains retire from the company. Leo O’Connell was the first as he retired last spring. The second was Bruce Campbell, who retired at the end of the season. It was an honor to serve with both of these guys and they will certainly be missed.
Due to unforeseen circumstances beyond our control, we were not able to properly honor Captain Campbell last season. So, on our Shakedown cruise this year we were able to rectify this by giving Bruce the attention and honor he so deserves. Captain Bruce was our longest tenured employee with over 48 years of service to the “Mount”. He started as a deckhand in 1969 and rose to rank of Captain in 2001. That’s an incredible run that puts him in a very small group of past employees with 45+ years of service.
The Shakedown Cruise was also a great time to reconnect with Retired Captain Harry Welch, who retired around 2008. In my 39 years with the company, I’ve always enjoyed having the retired employees return for a cruise aboard the “Mount”. Remembering old times and seeing the twinkle in their eyes while telling a tale or two, never gets old with me. Captain Welch and I spent many nights cruising the big lake – invaluable time spent learning the ropes from a very knowledgeable person. I was his pilot for nearly 10 years before becoming Captain in 2000, after which he graciously gave me the support of command by being my pilot for many of his remaining years.
Since there have been fewer than 20 Captains in the life of Mount Washington Cruises, the retired Captains’ Club is a unique fraternity. One which I will someday proudly join. (But not for few years yet!)