Made in AmericaSome amazing people enjoy sailing when they aren’t saving society. Megan Key and Justin Gerner enjoyed sailing the York River on a warm fall day as they prepare for their wedding. Years ago, Megan’s grandfather and uncle complained about poor service at their VA hospital. One day she accompanied a second uncle to the VA as he tried to get a drug prescription renewed.

“It took 12 hours and was just horrible for him.” As a result, she got her master’s degree and became a social worker at the VA hospital in Durham NC, where she’s “just trying to do my part to change the system.” Later on I asked casually what she might do in the future. “I’d go back to disaster relief,” she said wistfully.

Meanwhile, Justin is a civil engineer who left his firm when a big company took over and changed how things worked, and notably the culture. “Eventually, so many engineers left that the company realized their error and recruited them back under revised conditions that preserved the original culture. Have you ever heard of such a thing?”

Made in America

People ask, “Do you get rookie sailors?” Until now, sailing is about the only thing Mike and Tonya Ahlfield had not experienced in the great outdoors. So we cruised along the York River in a soft autumn breeze. Today they live in southern Indiana where they take their children fishing and hunting. They do the latter with rifles, shotguns, bow and arrow, and crossbow.

“Then you use different weapons for different animals, sMade in Americaeasons and distances,” Mike explained. In deer season, “Shooting from a platform in a tree is safer. You wait for deer to come by.” That way any errant shots hit the ground. And they also trailer a 22-foot RV. And they’re thinking about buying a mid-size sailboat to take to the lake.

However, the Ahlfields reminded me of how happy people seem when they take the time to enjoy nature. Their work is equally rewarding. He’s an engineer for a cabinet manufacturer with 1,500 workers. She’s a nurse in the dementia unit of a Benedictine Sisters home. “They’re waiting to go to heaven, cheerfully,” she said.

Let’s Go Sail

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