At their recent meeting on July 21, the WCHM Board of Directors approved the appointment of Benson Gray to fill a vacant Director-At-Large position. The seat had been vacant since the passing of Jim Czajkowski in the spring and has two years remaining in its term. “I would like to welcome Benson to our board,” writes WCHM President Richard Taylor, “We very much appreciate his desire to support our mission to preserve and display objects and skills related to the history, use, and construction of canoes in North America.” Gray was nominated for the board seat by current WCHM Director-At-Large Dan Miller.
“I first met Benson in the 1990s through the fledgling forums of the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association (WCHA)” explains Miller. “We soon collaborated on a project to publish a CD-ROM of scans of the catalogs of the Old Town Canoe Company.” Benson’s interest in the Old Town Canoe Company is due to his being a descendant of the founders of the company, and working in the Old Town factory as a youngster while the company was still a family-owned business. Miller continues, “Together we compiled similar collections for the Thompson Brothers Boat Manufacturing Co., and collections of catalogs from numerous American and Canadian canoe manufacturers.”
Both Benson and Miller were previous board members for the WCHA. They worked together to build, maintain, and create content for the WCHA website for twenty years, and served on the WCHA’s Annual Assembly planning committee. “Canoes have been very good for me and my family over many years and I see this as an opportunity to return some of that favor,” says Benson, “and the WCHM devotion to the acquisition, preservation, and dissemination of materials and information relating to the history and heritage of canoe building, canoes, and canoeing is completely aligned with my interests.”