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Story by:  Robert Stopper, Lyons

Captain Ben and his dog Blue are travelling the Erie Canal in a sailboat named “Junkyard Dog.” Yes, the name is catchy, but onlookers do a double take when they see that Ben is actually rowing the sailboat! Then onlookers really are stumped when they learn that Ben is on R and R!

Entering the Erie Canal Lock
At the present time, Ben is on R and R from Afghanistan. Ben is an ex -marine with ten years of military service. He is employed working for the Air Force as a technician on drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles.

Ben left Detroit a few weeks ago and plans, “To go as far as I can go, put my boat up somewhere for the winter, and then return to Afghanistan by December 2, 2012.” Ben has paddled hundreds of miles on kayaks and canoes. Many of those miles followed the expedition routes of Lewis and Clark.  His future plans for the sailboat include travelling to the Caribbean and even Central America.

Ben is rowing his sailboat on the Erie Canal for several reasons. According to Ben, “Junkyard Dog has no motor or fancy equipment…. The bridges are all too low for my sails…. I do have a compass and a depth finder…. and I am pretty strong and do need the exercise…. The more equipment I have, the more worries I have!”

Captain Ben and his trusty companion, Blue

 “Junkyard Dog” is a 20 foot Westerly Sailboat made in England.  It is just perfect for Ben and his constant companion, Blue. Ben found his dog “Blue” on Craigslist.

 According to Ben, purchasing the sailboat was a bit more nerve wracking: “I was in Afghanistan, and I kept praying that the internet would not collapse and that no one would outbid me- the internet did not collapse, and I was the high bidder- yes- while in Afghanistan, I bought my sailboat in Detroit through E-Bay!”

Ben spent Saturday afternoon, October 20, 2012 in Lyons attending the local PumpkinPalooza Festival. He marveled at how quiet and peaceful everything seemed to be - a far cry from the screeching sounds and the shattering noise of Afghanistan.

Yes, Ben, thanks to so many men and women like you, we are able to celebrate our festivals as we wish. On behalf of Lyons and all of Wayne County, New York, a very special “Thank you” and “Semper Fi!”


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1 Comment to "Marine Veteran Paddles Junkyard Dog On Erie Canal Into Lyons"

  1. Books, ETC. Said,

    Metting Ben and Blue was a great honor--

    Thank you, Bob, for including me...John C., Books, ETC.

    Posted on Mon Oct 22, 06:57:00 PM EDT


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