Operation Restoration: Restoring a Soldier's Boat

Restoring Capt. David Biemer's Caravelle Interceptor

Operation Restoration: Help restore Capt. David Biemer's Boat

If ever there was a story that illustrates the power of karma, it’s the one you’re about to read. Captain David Biemer was in Afghanistan fighting for his country when he got word that his father had passed away. The American Red Cross flew Biemer to Texas for his dad’s funeral and the lone positive thought the United States army officer had was, “At least we can take out the boat for a couple of hours.”

That thought passed quickly when Biemer saw his boat. The shop that he had left it with had parked the 1993 Caravelle Interceptor underneath a tree, not indoors as they had told Biemer they would, and none of the repairs for which he had prepaid before being deployed had been completed. This was no way to treat a soldier who had earned a Purple Heart and Bronze Star plus a list of other honors so long it couldn’t possibly be pinned to one man’s uniform. After completing his service to the U.S. Marine Corps he re-enlisted in the Army to keep fighting for his country.

Biemer took the boat home so he could restore it and use it with his wife Monica and three daughters Noella, Lola and Mila. But with frequent deployments to more than 14 countries, the Caravelle had fallen into disrepair.

Enter Scott Hawkins, Biemer’s brother in law and his friend Bryan Letterly, who happens to be a salesman and an accomplished promoter and fundraiser. “We were in the driveway working on Scott’s boat one weekend and his wife Deborah had said, ‘Hey you’re really good at networking and fundraising and said can you help us do this?,’” said Letterly. Hawkins had been working hard to raise funds and still has been, but he figured the extra help couldn’t hurt.

As the driver of the Top Fuel Jet boat, Spirit of America II, in the Lucas Oil Drag Boat Series, Letterly knows full well the camaraderie among boaters and especially those who like to go fast on the water.

“The boating world and community is so awesome,” he said. “If I can help people build that passion…”

So Letterly went to work, organizing an effort on fundraiser.com ("Operation Bring Biemer's Boat Back," https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/aldr1/ab/63OV92) to start bringing in the estimated $10,000 to restore Biemer's boat. He also talked to businesses in the local Scottsdale, Ariz., area and they stepped up. Kokopelli Trailers donated a polished aluminum trailer. Mesa Boat Restoration is restoring the interior and Auto Culture is taking care of the engine. Brandon Larson of Bytour Custom Truck is taking care of the drive and Paul Gullo is taking care of the exterior of the boat with Hula Products. Arizona Hot Boats is also participating in the restoration. The shops are donating their time for labor and charging cost for any parts.

Because of the generosity of the local businesses, Letterly said that the cost for the project should be closer to $7,500 and as of mid-June, he said they were about $2,000 away from their goal.

Shockingly, in this day and age of nothing being secret, Letterly said that Biemer knows nothing about the restoration and he plans to surprise the soldier when he returns from his current deployment in mid-September.