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Cianbro to the Rescue


On the morning of April 14th, 2014, Cianbro team members at the Capital Wheel Project in National Harbor, Maryland saw something they had never seen before.  They certainly had noticed the rowing team (also known as a “crew” team) of 75 rowers from nearby West Potomac High School in days gone by – the school located across the Potomac River in Alexandria, Virginia uses National Harbor as their practice site – and Cianbro's builders had seen the high schoolers rowing, typically after school.  But this particular Monday, April 14th, was the beginning of school vacation week, and so the young rowers were scheduled for a morning practice that took one particular boat (a.k.a their “shell”) of novice rowers about 300 feet from the end of the pier where Cianbro is constructing the gigantic new observation wheel.  It was the divers from Specialty Underwater Services, a Cianbro subcontractor, who first noticed that the youngsters’ shell was taking on water after an abrupt change in the wind, and within a matter of moments, the shell was swamped.  
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“The divers told themselves that the kids looked like they were in trouble,” said Cianbro Senior Project Engineer Gabe Sloane.  “The divers got in touch with Superintendent Wade Simons who ran across the pier, hollering at fellow team members to get the Cianbro boat ready.”  Simons, Leonard Brooks, Mike Cavalier and Marvin Alvarenga jumped into the vessel and raced out to the swamped shell.  The student rowers train to deal with swamping, and their training kept them together, sitting in the swamped shell, as their coach distributed life preservers from her nearby launch.  After Wade and his teammates in the Cianbro boat raced up to the youngsters, it was not long before all of the wet rowers were retrieved from the chilly water and pulled safely aboard for a quick trip to shore.  Meanwhile, with the kids in safe hands, the team’s coaches were able to concentrate on securing the floundering shell..

“We were glad we could be there to help them,” said Gabe Sloane.  “That’s why we have the water rescue plans, so that if someone is in trouble, we’re right there to help.”

The following day, the team’s instructor paid a visit to the Cianbro jobsite, bearing a gift of pastries for the team members.  Some of the moms from the school expressed gratitude to the quick-acting Cianbro folks, saying that it was such a nice community-oriented thing to get involved the way they did.  Another mom prepared cookies for the construction team.  Family members said that the rowers themselves were “tickled” that they were being watched over by the guys on the job.  One mom quoted the rowers as saying, “Hey, these guys have our back – that’s really nice.”

Hats off to the Cianbro team members and subcontractors whose second nature is to get involved.                   

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