Jack Brockley | Dec 11, 2017

Texas A&M Galveston CKI members help community restore shrimp boat.

In Galveston, Texas, community efforts to restore an old shrimp boat have benefited from the Texas A&M University Circle K club. When the 2016-17 school year started, restoration of the 1937 boat became one of the first projects tackled by the club.

Members became involved in the restoration after club President Linda Stevens met a volunteer from the project. The two struck up a conversation, and the boat restoration was mentioned. Stevens realized it was something CKI members would enjoy.

The wooden shrimp boat Santa Maria originally joined Galveston's "Mosquito Fleet" after its construction in 1937. The Galveston Historical Foundation acquired the vessel in 2002.

Work began in August, cleaning the inside and outside, moving equipment and tools and helping volunteers bring the old vessel back to its heyday condition.

The Circle K members also have volunteered for similar work at Seawolf Park with the U.S.S. Cavalla, a World War II submarine, and with the U.S.S. Stewart, a destroyer escort.

“The history of the Santa Maria and the feeling you get being on that boat is all too real,” Stevens says. “It’s like the feeling you get when you go to your grandparents' house. Even if you have never been on that boat before, you can feel all the memories and history.”

A marine biology major, Stevens values the historical importance of Galveston and recognizes the shrimp boat is one of the remaining chapters of a rich nautical story.

“What attracted me most was probably all the love and importance shown by those trying to preserve the Santa Maria,” she says.

When Stevens arrived at Galveston's A&M campus, Stevens says she fell in love with CKI.

“CKI has allowed me to grow as a leader and a human being,” she says. “I have always had a desire to serve others, but this organization has allowed me to go above and beyond what I ever thought I could do, by bringing students together and making our community better, as well as making great friends.”