What we do is simple – give a fun day out on the water to any Veteran who wants to go. The day begins with coffee and dounts and the boats go out for a ride, and sometimes even some swimming or fishing. The captains then return back to the marina for a cookout, camaraderie, and the presentation of gifts and donations collected from the supporting business. No one working for Boats4Vets receives any compensation – all of our efforts are purely volunatry.

Daniel Shawl

This organization was started by my father, Mike, back in 2010 with the first event held on Harsens Island. Even in the early days, these were great events that were so popular that they led to the opening of new chapters in Port Huron and Lake Fenton. In May 2014, he asked me to assume the duties of Treasurer and Board Member – after seeing how much the local Veteran community loved these events, how could I say no? I still currently serve in those roles.

I’m a Veteran of the US Navy like my father before me, and I also have family members who have served in the Marine Corps, Army, and Air Force. Strong military blood runs through my veins, and it has always been my mission to do what I can for as many Veterans as possible. This group lets me do just that.

The Chaplain

John Pajak: Chaplain
Former director of housekeeping for Palace Sports and Entertainment and the Detroit Pistons
Currently pastor at New Hudson United Methodist Church
Lives in South Lyon





The Beginning

Our organization started in 2009, when the first outing on Lake St. Clair Chapter the first hosted a group of 60 people made up of Veterans and their families. This event has grown in numbers every year since. In 2017 our Lake St. Clair chapter hosted over 160 people with the help of numerous volunteers and the staff of The Idle Hour Yacht Club.

In 2012 we expanded by adding a second chapter on Lake Fenton where we hosted over 150 people at Skipper Bud’s Marina. We expanded again in 2014, adding our Blue Water Chapter based out of the River Street Marina in Port Huron. This event has become massive, and in 2017 we hosted more than 400 people. In 2018, we are kept all three of these events going, and saw record turnouts. In 2019 we will again be hosting our 3 events and celebrating our 10th year. This is a huge year for us and we are excited to keep the momentum of the previous years going.

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