Collaboration Required to Remove Log from River
Physical plant employees Cory Hatcher, Jerry Paitsel, and Larry Camper work to remove a log from the water at the high water platform on the Maury River. -- VMI Photo by John Robertson IV.
LEXINGTON, Va., Sept. 23 – Rockbridge Sheriff’s Office divers joined VMI employees in removing a large log from the Maury River at the high water entry platform on Sept. 21.
The log had been identified by cadets who handle the area, including a cadet who free dives along the zip line to check for obstructions. Initially, they thought it might be possible to pull the log out with a truck, but it soon became apparent that more help was needed.
“The cadre were really excited about being involved in this, but realized that it’s a little over their heads,” said physical education instructor Capt. Sarah Sykes.
Lt. Col. Jay Williams ’83, post engineer, arranged to collaborate with the sheriff’s office, which provided two scuba divers, Scott Bedell and Tim Hickman, to assist in removing the log.
VMI has a longstanding relationship with the sheriff’s office, which has done SWAT training on post and will likely make use of the new firing range, Williams said. The log removal was also being looked at as a training opportunity for the dive team.
“It’s important to recognize the relationship with local law enforcement,” said Williams. “Partnering with them and offering the use of facilities is good for the community and good for VMI.”
The two divers attached chains to the log and made adjustments while physical plant employees Jerry Paitsel and Cory Hatcher pulled the log onto the shore with a backhoe.
Lt. Col. Bill Bither, director of corps marksmanship and NCAA rifle coach, was also present to lend a hand and to ensure that the operation removed all obstacles interfering with the safe operation of the platform.
– John Robertson IV