Westhampton Beach Middle School brought the book “The Finest Hours,” by Michael Tougias and Casey Sherman, to life during a community read event on Feb. 28.
Held at the school, the event capped off a monthlong community read of the nonfiction work and featured guests who discussed the story and how it relates to them.
One of the speakers was Richard Ryder of the Orleans Historical Society in Massachusetts, who described his historical ties to the book. “The Finest Hours” tells the true story of one of the U.S. Coast Guard’s most daring rescues in the winter of 1952. When Ryder was 12, his father, a USCG member, received a call over his radio that the SS Pendleton, a tanker, had split in half and the men aboard were in peril. Ryder recalled the experience at the time and the conversations he later had with the crew of the CG36500, who rescued the sailors in danger. He also discussed the restoration process of the CG36500, with which he currently tours.
Also speaking at the event were local Coast Guard members James Potts and Wes Casey, who discussed their own experiences in the Coast Guard and the extreme circumstances the crew of the CG36500 must have endured at the time of the 1952 rescue.