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10 years after: The ‘Glenn Ship’ docks at Front Royal’s C&C Frozen Treats

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On Monday, September 14, a ship of dreams set sail on the most recent leg of its journey in memory of one human spirit that set an example for us all. That ship is affectionately known as the Glenn Ship <glennship.com> or as christened by its skipper Glenn Mikulak, the K’nector of the Seas.

With the assistance of some Front Royals finest encountered at Skyline Middle School, the K’nector of the Seas most recent port of call, the ship estimated to be assembled from 10,000-odd K’NEX pieces was moved in its massive glass case to the C&C Frozen Treats complex at 413/409 East Main Street, in Front Royal’s Historic Downtown Business District.

That is a high-powered moving crew delicately transporting the Glenn Ship to its new port of call at C&C Frozen Treats. Royal Examiner Photos by Roger Bianchini

“Overseeing” the operation was Glenn’s mother, Glenda Mikulak Roberts, husband William “Billy” Roberts, and C&C proprietor William “Willie” Huck. We asked, first mom Glenda, and then Huck about the relocation to a downtown place of prominence. Ironically, or perhaps magically, the Glennship’s new port lies in the shadow of the Town Gazebo where the K’nector of the Seas laid anchor with several hundred mourners, including Class of 2010 Warren County High School classmates of Glenn’s at his October 24, 2010, Memorial Service.



“It was October 19 when Glenn sailed to his distant shore. And my daughter, Robin Mikulak Dodson, got together with Willy (Huck) at C&C Frozen Treats, and they had a plan to move it down here. So, we executed their plan today, and we’re going to hang up some information on Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne’s particularly, and remind people how somebody with a disability could really go way and beyond and make a creation like the one with over 10,000 pieces here.”

As some “docking” logistics were being ironed out and Glenn’s K’nector of the Seas already began drawing attention from passing East Main Street foot traffic and perhaps a passing motorists horn honk, we asked Huck about the genesis of the Glennship relocation born of conversations with a C&C Frozen Treats customer, Glenn’s sister Robin.

In port and shore leave requested to go next door for some of that fine C&C ice cream. Below, permission granted as a local ponders a boarding of the ship from outside the window.

“She asked me if we could do it, and I was like ‘most certainly’ and (wife) Nina was like, ‘YES, we’d LOVE to!’. There are love and magic in the ice cream shop, connectors, connections all over. And K’nector, connections – it all just fits. It truly is about the connections and it’s an honor to host this in the ice cream shop so the magic can continue to live. This truly represents our community coming together and that’s the most important thing,” Huck observed of Glenn’s K’nector of the Seas sailing C&C Frozen Treats way.

“To have this young man’s legacy live on in our building is a little overwhelming because I never met the man, didn’t know him, wasn’t in Front Royal at the time. But I can see his passion for life. And the ship that he’s done – I’m about love and magic, and this is his love shining to the world to see the magic that he’s created,” Huck said.

“The research behind what he has done with this ship says that it’s passion. And that’s what he lived with. Even to his end, he lived with passion and wanted to touch people. And we’re about memories and about celebrating – and the adventure, there’s always an adventure. And … we can all load on and take an adventure anywhere we want to go, anywhere we want to be.

“Glenn’s adventure continues, and he’s going to continue to touch people even in his passing. And to be a part of his legacy is an honor here at C&C Frozen Treats,” Huck concluded, locking in on the importance of the example Glenn Mikulak gave us all during his 18 years with us. As a footnote to this story, Glenda reminded us that Glenn’s First Mate, his dad Robert Mikulak, aka “The Ratchetman”, rejoined his son’s crew on that far, shining shore in November 2012.

Glenn’s story of life and passion through adversity is one worth sharing – with a taste of the magic, Billy, Glenda and Willie agree.

“Interesting in the 10 years since Glenn has been sailing away, they have come up with some really good treatments, and they’ve got some good trials going for Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy. So, we’re hoping that something really good will evolve from 2020, maybe. In my lifetime I want to see a successful treatment/cure for Duchenne’s,” Glenda said of the deteriorative muscle disease that took aspiring engineer Glenn’s life.

In addition to its stops at various Warren County Public Schools, Glenda noted a year’s port of call in Winchester’s Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum; and she asked for a shoutout for the Glennship’s massive protective glass enclosure case, made courtesy of Mark Dick’s MD Construction. And not one to miss perhaps cosmic irony, Glenda pointed to the company owner’s connecting initials to the disease Glenn battled throughout his life.

“At his funeral, we carried it down the street here, 350 people went to the Gazebo where we had a little ceremony. And as we were driving up in the truck today, it reminded me of the emotions as we were bringing it down, and we came in that same direction,” Glenda said, also recalling a certain camera-toting reporter jogging to the front of the procession as the K’nector sailed into this downtown neighborhood the first time.

In 2010 this reporter covered Glenn’s ship being brought into his high school for display under his watchful eye his senior year; and just months later of his passing in a story titled “An Improbable Tale of the High Seas: A captain among men, Glenn Mikulak sails toward a brighter shore”. In reporting on his creation’s latest port of call at C&C Frozen Treats, I will include passages from that latter story, including references to the earlier story:*

The K’nector of the Seas team ponders the view and some potential improvement to the docking area.

Ten years gone

For most people, me included, memories of a nice trip, whether it be on a ship or by another mode of transportation, are generally recorded in our sometimes flawed memory banks or on photographs soon to be curled and yellowing in some forgotten scrapbook.

But for Warren County High senior Glenn Mikulak, the memories of a 2006 trip with his late grandmother, Linda Hogoboom, on a Caribbean cruise were translated into an astonishing reconstruction of a cruise ship. On April 28th Glenn’s ship christened “K’nector of the Seas … was brought for display in the Warren County High lobby. The reactions of classmates, teachers and even Principal Ernestine Jordan mirrored my own.

“That’s awesome!”

“Glenn, that’s incredible – did you draw a picture of it first?” “No, I just started building it,” Glenn replied.

“I couldn’t do that if I had my whole life to finish it,” one student exclaimed.

The fact Glenn oversaw the event from his wheelchair underscores perhaps the added awe with which his classmates viewed his achievement. Glenn suffers from a form of Muscular Dystrophy known as Duchenne, an irreversible deterioration of the muscular system. As a consequence of his condition, Glenn has a reduced life expectancy and must face that fact each day …

Glenn’s outlook is an inspiration to all. We asked him how he does it.

Let’s see, where to start with this 2010 upgrading. Glenn’s mom described his astonishing attention to detail as in hot tubs, the ship’s lifeboats, helicopter pad, and tiny hand-cut flags, as well as below-deck features like recycling and trash chambers rarely, if ever seen by passengers. Below, the aspiring engineer ponders his work. – I see them in front of the ship’s bow: can we get a drum roll please, to announce the K’nector’s re-launch?

“Designing and building is my passion,” he told us. “I try to use all that I have and make the best of it. I anticipate a cure in the future and while it’s getting harder and harder for me every day physically, I am doing all I can. It’s discouraging at times, but I am still creating and building. I hope I’m an inspiration to other people. This ship will be my legacy.”

But Glenn was wrong, at least in part. It isn’t just his ship that is his legacy. Rather, as repeatedly commented on by emotional friends, family, and classmates at his Oct. 24 (2010) Memorial Service, it is Glenn’s spirit that is his most enduring legacy … Glenn’s legacy to all of us is the example of achievement under duress; of hope where hopelessness might seem the answer; of life lived to the fullest under the constant shadow of death.

Glenn was dealt a lousy hand physically – but spiritually he carried a full deck.

His hand played out on his mother’s birthday, Oct. 19, 2010. Captain, permission to leave the bridge of the “Royal K’nibbean Line’s K’nector of the Seas” is granted. Please take your next duty station on the bridge of another ship of dreams, a ship without unwanted anchors, a ship sailing into a port of call on a distant and shining shore.

Back to the present

As the 10th anniversary of his passing approaches, Glenn’s ship has sailed a familiar route into a new port of call his mother called, if not a shining shore, a “shining store” in downtown Front Royal. And in coming months for those of us willing to really look into that perhaps magical C&C Frozen Treats complex storefront window, we will be reminded, not only of who Glenn Mikulak was but of who we can be with a little more focus, a little more effort and a little less complaining about the hand we are dealt in this world.

Check-in with Glenn’s Ship on Facebook where you can share thoughts, photos, and a dream or two can mingle with others touching those afloat in the wake of a visit to the K’nector of the Seas.

Mom Glenda embraces the Glenn Ship’s new location in downtown Front Royal, as Billy inside works on accompanying informational signage.

The K’nector of the Seas is an impressive sight to behold …

… from any angle – and we’ll get a little lighting on in here and clean that case up a bit – and maybe a little melted ocean blue ice cream around the case’s base …


Footnote*: Excerpts from stories first published in 2010 in the Warren County Report.

Facts about Glenn’s ship:

  • Length: 8 feet 6 inches
  • Width: 1 foot
  • Height: 2-feet-5-inches
  • Build Time: 6 weeks in 2006
  • Upgrading Time: 3 weeks in 2010
  • Estimated K’NEX pieces used: 10,000
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Front Royal based substance abuse recovery program receives grant

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Harvest Missions Outreach Center’s Exodus program has been awarded the Rappahannock Electric Power of Change grant. Each month Rappahannock Electric members give to The Power of Change. These donations are invested back into Rappahannock Electric communities through grants to organizations that work towards improving REC communities.

Harvest Missions Outreach Center’s Exodus program is a faith-based intensive outpatient substance abuse recovery program. The program utilizes evidence-based curriculum in a faith-based setting to provide a comprehensive recovery program. The grant made it possible to expand their curriculum to include the Matrix Model for Criminal Justice Settings. The Matrix program, which is used by drug court programs across the country, is designed to meet the needs of law-involved clients who struggle with addiction to alcohol and other drugs. The program focuses on overcoming criminal thinking and strategies for successful recovery skills. With the implementation of the Matrix curriculum, the Exodus program will be able to provide services to those who are in the criminal justices system in Warren County.

To assure that finances are not a barrier to treatment, there is no fee for the Exodus program. The program is supported by grants, contributions from local churches and individual donations (Clients are asked to make a contribution of whatever they can afford, even if it is only $1.00).

Harvest Missions Outreach Center is located at the former United Methodist Church in Happy Creek (1652 Happy Creek Rd). To find out more about the program, visit harvestmissionscenter.org or call (540) 645-6450.


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Element Risk Management acquires new agency, expands local footprint

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Element Risk Management has acquired Stoneburner-Carter Insurance, located in Front Royal, Virginia.

Stoneburner-Carter Insurance

Stoneburner-Carter Insurance was established in 1985 and is a three-generation family firm based in Warren County, Virginia, formerly at 11 Water Street, Front Royal, VA 22630. Stoneburner-Carter has served their clients well by putting them first and delivering first-rate customer service. For over 35 years, they have taken pride in knowing that the insurance they offer is the best for their clients’ families and businesses. Stoneburner-Carter has been committed to working with and protecting their community.

“Stoneburner-Carter has always treated their clients as friends and neighbors. That is a core value of Element Risk Management and we will continue to provide the personalized service that their clients are accustomed to. We look forward to them joining us at Element Risk Management,” said Dave Rivell, Partner at Element Risk.


Element Risk Management is an independent insurance agency based out of West Chester, Pennsylvania. Element provides personal, commercial, and specialty insurance, as well as risk management solutions. For more information, visit www.ElementRisk.com.

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Kindness is contagious at LFK Elementary School

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On Monday, January 24, 2022, Leslie Fox Keyser Elementary School kicked off The Great Kindness Challenge week. LFK joins other schools and millions of students around the world in the Great Kindness Challenge 2022. Students and staff are creating a kinder and more compassionate community by practicing how easy it is to be kind to others during this week-long event.

The GKC initiative, presented by Kids for Peace, is a global campaign that promotes kindness in kindergarten through grade twelve schools. It is a positive, action-based bullying-prevention initiative that creates a school culture of kindness, compassion, unity, and respect.


Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind. – Henry James

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Update: Bentonville teen dies off Chincoteague Bay after boat capsizes, boy, 17, missing

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Update January 22, 2022 – The Virginia Marine Police are investigating a boating incident that left one dead and one missing.

At approximately 9:22 am on January 22, 2022, the Virginia Marine Police received a call regarding a capsized vessel in the Chincoteague Bay near Curtis Merritt Harbor. Witnesses reported that a 16-foot John Boat carrying four people was struck by a wave causing the vessel to capsize. All four people went into the water. A Good Samaritan was able to rescue two people who remained with the vessel. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) recovered one deceased adult male, identified as Corey Alles of Bentonville Virginia. A 17-year-old male remains missing.

The Virginia Marine Police will resume the search for a missing 17-year-old male in the morning. The other adult male and a 17-year-old male were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The United States Coast Guard, Virginia Marine Police, Virginia State Police, Maryland State Police, and the Chincoteague Police Department are assisting with the investigation.


The Virginia Marine Police and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission offers its deepest condolences to the families during this time.”

More information to follow as it becomes available.


A Bentonville teen died, and another teen is missing after their Jon boat capsized it Saturday morning in the Chincoteague Bay, according to a media release from the Virginia Marine Resources Commission.

The incident occurred around 9:20 a.m. near Curtis Merritt Harbor at the southern end of the island. A wave apparently hit the 16-foot boat, according to Marine Police and all four people went into the water.

Cory Alles, in a social media post from August 2021.

Marine police stated that on board were two 17-year-olds, a 19-year-old and 18-year-old Corey Alles of Bentonville, VA.

A good Samaritan rescued two of the passengers near the boat, while the U.S. Coast Guard recovered the body of Alles. Officials say the 19-year-old man and one of the 17-year-olds were taken to the hospital with injuries considered non-life-threatening.

The release said that a 17-year-old male is still missing, and marine police will continue their search for him in the morning.

The U.S. Coast Guard, Virginia Marine Police, Virginia State Police, Maryland State Police, and the Chincoteague Police Department are all jointly

conducting the investigation. The families and the next of kin have been notified.

Officials declined to comment if the missing teen was from the Front Royal/Warren County area. This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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VSP investigating a fatal crash in Fauquier County

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Virginia State Police Senior Trooper J. Lewis is investigating a fatal two-vehicle crash in Fauquier County. The crash occurred Friday, January 21, 2022, at 6:51 p.m. along Route 17 (Winchester Rd.), 2 tenths of a mile north of Interstate 66.

A 2021 Jeep Wrangler was traveling north on Rte. 17 when it crossed a double solid yellow centerline and collided head-on with a southbound 2017 Dodge Ram.

The driver of the Jeep, Gilbert F. Dzakpasu, 43, of Germantown, Md., died at the scene of the crash as a result of his injuries. Dzakpasu was wearing a seatbelt.

The driver of the Dodge, a 22-year-old male, of Marshall, Va., suffered serious, but non-life-threatening injuries in the crash and was flown to INOVA Fairfax Hospital for treatment. The male was wearing a seatbelt.


Speed is considered a factor in the crash.

 

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Valley Health distributes COVID test kits to community partners in region

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At a time of high community COVID-19 positivity, Valley Health is distributing more than 150,000 free COVID-19 test kits throughout its rural service area, courtesy of the federal government.

The 2-test kits began arriving last week through a Biden Administration initiative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), in an effort to address the needs of residents in medically underserved areas.

Valley Health operates 19 federally-designated Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) in Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland to ease a shortage of primary medical care. HRSA’s program provides test kits through its network of RHCs to clinic staff, patients, and surrounding communities.

In addition to offering test kits to RHC staff and patients, Valley Health is distributing them to other physician practices and dozens of community agencies and organizations for use by their staff and those they serve. The distribution includes law enforcement, fire and rescue, free medical clinics, health departments, churches, and detention centers, shelters, and other congregate settings.


“We are entering our third year of caring for patients with COVID-19 and trying to protect the community from the ravages of this virus,” said Jeffrey Feit, MD, Valley Health Population and Community Health Officer. “The current Omicron variant is particularly contagious and there’s an overwhelming demand for testing. We are thrilled to be the conduit for these do-it-yourself test kits from the U.S. government to help our community take decisive steps if they are positive: isolate and protect others, and seek care if they have significant symptoms or underlying health conditions.”

Each test kit box contains two tests with clear instructions and the nasal swab and reagent needed to obtain fast, easy-to-understand results in 10 minutes. It is recommended that individuals use the second test over two to three days, with at least 24 hours and no more than 36 hours between tests.

Jason Craig, EdD, Valley Health Director of Community Health, has delivered thousands of test kits this week and learned first-hand how vital the rapid tests are for community agencies struggling to make safe decisions during the pandemic. The Salvation Army’s residential program manager, Deborah Moody, expressed her appreciation and offered insight on the value of the rapid tests to an organization trying to serve as many individuals as possible.

“We are currently running at half capacity because we were unable to know if someone was coming in with COVID and needed to isolate them for five days before releasing them into the population,” Moody explained. “This will allow us a shorter isolation time. Being the winter, it is crucial that we offer services to individuals experiencing homelessness. Thank you for helping to make that happen.”

Valley Health’s six hospitals are working on a plan to give kits to patients on discharge from the hospital, Craig added. ”We are putting them in the hands of many local family medicine and specialty care practices to help distribute throughout our communities. We want to be a good community partner and are eager to put the test kits we requested from HRSA to use for the health and safety of our friends and neighbors.” Valley Health is also asking employees to take two kits for their families and give two to a friend or neighbor “so that we can extend into the communities where our employees live,” Craig said.

Craig suggested that anyone unable to find a COVID-19 test kit through one of the practices or community organizations on Valley Health’s initial distribution effort should submit a request to receive by mail from www.covidtests.gov.

For more on Valley Health COVID-19 services and visitation guidelines, visit www.valleyhealthlink.com/coronavirus. For information on testing and return to work guidance, visit www.cdc.gov.

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