Developer Douglas Jemal is not only setting out to resuscitate some of Buffalo’s most iconic buildings, he’s also venturing out into more unfamiliar waters, quite literally. Understanding the importance of the waterfront, and all aspects of its history, Jemal is helping to lead the way towards rescuing one of this city’s most celebrated military ships – the USS The Sullivans (DD-537), a 78-year old Fletcher-Class destroyer that saw action in WWII, the Korean War, and the Cold War.
The ship’s importance is not only due to the action that she saw, she also happens to be the namesake of the five Sullivan brothers who were all killed in action, while serving aboard the light cruiser Juneau, when it sank during a battle some time around November 13, 1942. Not only will saving the USS The Sullivans keep the ship afloat, for future generations to enjoy, it will also preserve the memory of the Sullivan brothers (lead image), whose mother christened the National Historic Landmark.
USS The Sullivans is named in honor of the five Sullivan brothers who, serving together on the light cruiser USS Juneau, were all killed in action on its sinking around November 13, 1942.
“Decades of harsh weather in Buffalo have taken a toll on the ship. The severely weakened hull was recently compromised below the waterline and the ship began taking on water,” commented Paul Marzello, president and CEO for the Buffalo Naval Park. “A full bow-to-stern survey of the ship’s hull was conducted, and an engineered plan developed for the necessary repairs. It involves applying a two-part epoxy coating to the entire hull below the waterline and the installation of a cathodic protection system that will prevent further corrosion of the USS The Sullivans, the USS Little Rock and the USS Croaker.”
A new fundraising campaign called “Save The Sullivans” intends to raise $100,000 to keep her afloat, by repairing the ship’s deteriorating hull. Douglas Jemal has stepped up as the Campaign Captain in hopes of encouraging Buffalonians to donate towards the preservation effort.
“It is an honor for me to be a part of the effort to preserve this ship and honor the service and sacrifice of the Sullivan brothers,” commented Jemal.
Along with being vocal about the fundraising effort, Jemal is also hosting a private, invitation-only fundraising event, which is being held on Wednesday, March 17th at 5:00pm at the Naval Park. Kelly Sullivan, the granddaughter of Albert Sullivan, the youngest of the five Sullivan brothers, will be making a special appearance at that fundraiser. Kelly is a third grade school teacher in Waterloo, Iowa.
Sullivan’s Brewing Company, which is owned by Michael Meade – a Buffalo native and CEO of the Kilkenny, Ireland based brewery – is also stepping up to participate in the fundraising effort. Sullivan’s beer was launched stateside in Buffalo a few years back.
“Buffalo is a second home for Sullivan’s. When we heard about the need to save the USS The Sullivans, it was a natural for us to get involved and help,” commented Meade, who is having the voice of the Buffalo Bills – John Murphy- pour Sullivan’s for guests at the fundraiser.
Calling all Sullivans!
Save The Sullivans campaign organizers are asking anyone with the last name Sullivan to consider making a donation in their name. Heck, event if you have a friend named “Sully,” maybe it’s time to make a donation in his or her name. That effort alone should ensure that the ship is saved, knowing how many “Sullies” there are running around Buffalo.
Contributions to the Save the Sullivans campaign can be made securely online at SAVETHESULLIVANS.ORG or by mail to Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park, ATTN: Save the Sullivans, One Naval Cove, Buffalo, New York, 14202, or by calling the park directly at 716-847-1773, EXT 10.
More information about The Park is available at buffalonavalpark.org.