Alpena resident new Shipmasters president

News Photo by Tyler Winowiecki Newly elected officers of the International Shipmaster Association are, back row left to right, Grand Chaplain Mary Ann-Schalip, Grand Sentinel Scott Reynolds, Grand Warden Caitlyn Clyne and Grand Marshall Greg Stamatelakys; front, Grand Secretary Treasurer Brian Eickel, Grand President Lee Barnhill, Grand First Vice President Harrold Dusseau and Grand Second Vice President Mark Mather.

ALPENA — It’s been 13 years since the last time the International Shipmaster Association visited Alpena. This time it was to install Alpena resident Capt. Lee Barnhill as grand president for the upcoming year.

Northeast Michigan Lodge 19 hosted the 127th annual conference at the Ramada Inn which had Marine Corps League #1327 begin the event with the presentation of colors. Following this the newly elected officers were installed.

The event began in 1886 in Buffalo, N.Y., as a means to provide financial assistance to families of a deceased local captain. Additionally the group provides education opportunities for navigational skills and had a voice in the safety and navigation rules and regulations.

The first convention was first held in 1891 and by 1917 the group changes its name to its current one in recognition of the growing Canadian presence. Now the group looks to ensure the tradition and professionalism of the field.

Representing about 800 members, the group includes not just ship captains but also engineers, ship hands and other crew members.

With his family watching, Barnhill took the association’s oath and assumed the position of grand president. A 20-year resident of Alpena, Barnhill said he looked forward to continuing the traditions and professionalism of the group.

“It’s such an honor to be elected to the highest office,” Barnhill said. “It’s has to be the highest honor that I’ve had in my life so far.”

Also being sworn in were Grand First Vice President Harrold Dusseau, Grand Second Vice President Mark Mather, Grand Secretary Treasurer Brian Eickel, Grand Sentinel Scott Reynolds, Grand Marshall Greg Stamatelakys, Grand Chaplain Mary Ann Schalip and Grand Warden Caitlin Clyne.

Following the installation of its new officers, the group went to the Ship Masters Grand Ball. Throughout their time in Alpena, members are participating in business luncheons, theme dinners and excursions throughout the city.

The convention began on Thursday and will run through Sunday.

Tyler Winowiecki can be reached via email at twinowiecki@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5688. Follow Tyler on Twitter tw_alpenanews.