Chairman of Glacier Society To Describe Program To Restore Old Icebreaking Ship

Westport News, March 8, 2002

Efforts to restore and operate the Glacier, the largest icebreaking ship of its time, will be described by Bernard G. "Ben" Koether at the Weston Kiwanis Club's weekly meeting Saturday, March 9, at the Norfield Congregational Church parish hall, Norfield Road, Weston. The public is invited to attend the talk, which will begin at 9:30 a.m.

Koether, a Westport resident, is chairman of the Glacier Society, a nonprofit educational foundation formed in 1998 to restore and operate the ship as a resource in scientific and environmental education and research for the benefit of the public. The Glacier, built in the early 1950s, was commissioned as a U.S. Navy vessel in 1955 and transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard in 1966. When it was moved to the inactive reserve fleet in 1987, the ship had made 29 trips to the Antarctic and 10 to the Arctic, sailing more than 944,000 miles in its 32 years of service.

Ownership of the venerable icebreaker was transferred by federal legislation to the Glacier Society in 2000 and it is now berthed in Bridgeport, where the society is headquartered. Koether, who served as the Glacier's navigator from 1959 to 1961, was instrumental in establishing the society. Professionally, he is chairman and chief operating officer of Food Automation-Service Techniques, Inc., of Stratford, a leading supplier of digital appliance technology to major fast food chains around the world.

The Weston Kiwanis Club sponsors various programs and events to raise funds for local organizations whose activities benefit the community at large. The club also provides information on topics of interest to residents through guest speakers on a wide variety of subjects.

Founded 26 years ago, the club's membership, currently at 91, is open to men and women residing in Weston. The group holds breakfast meetings every Saturday morning in the Norfield Congregational Church parish hall. Anyone interested in inquiring about joining is invited to contact Mark Whidden, the club's membership chairman at 454-0739.

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