RETIRED NAVY MAN FRANK LYDELL makes the 100-mile round-trip from his home to the USS Silversides in Muskegon, Michigan, three times a week to volunteer. “I was out there one
day and recognized they didn’t have anyone with my background or
submarine mechanical experience, so I thought perhaps I could give
them a hand.”
The USS Silversides is the oldest floating WWII submarine left
in the U.S. and now serves as a museum that runs an overnight
program for families, schools, and Scouting groups, among others.
Although the submarine doesn’t go anywhere anymore, thanks to
Frank, his brother Tom (a fellow volunteer), and employee Jack, the
engines and systems still run. “Because the boat’s 70 years old, we
do all the repairs and upgrades and have been spending a lot of time
working on systems that were in bad repair, keeping them safe and
up to date,” Frank says.
“The best part of the job is taking people through the boat who
are interested in it,” he says. “Once in a while we’ll get a WWII submarine veteran, and quite often I’ll have them start the engine. They’re
all in their 90s now, and haven’t been on a submarine in a very long
time, so it really makes their day.” — A.D.
WHEN LYSCHEL AND GARREN BURKET started a web page on the fundraising site Kickstarter for their business, they said they needed money for: “freezers, inventory, insurance,
fuel, and a few versions of ‘The Entertainer.’”
Donations came from friends, family, and strangers, and the
Tennessee couple got more than the $3,000 they’d requested. Last
summer, strains of “The Entertainer” rang out most weekends on the
Tennessee River, from a specially outfitted ice cream boat under the
name Ice Cream Floats.
“I think I felt that it was such a fun dream that it was almost impossible,” Lyschel says. “I kept thinking that it was so impractical that the
next phone call would be the
thing that shut us down.…
When I started realizing that
it was really going to happen,
it made the journey so much
Ice Cream Floats operates
like a traditional ice cream
truck, and started turning a profit earlier this year. One part of the
business plan was to get volunteers to help staff the boat, in exchange
for donating money to charity. So far, charities have included a
Christian mission in Zimbabwe and a local animal shelter.
Lyschel takes care of their three kids during the week, and Garren
is a project manager at a government-contracted construction company. Are they going to make ice cream a full-time business? “I don’t
know,” she says. “It would be really fun if it was, wouldn’t it?” — C.L.