OCEAN CITY – Community members are invited and encouraged to attend the annual Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast in Ocean City next week.
On Jan. 12, the Greater Ocean City, Ocean Pines, Berlin, Snow Hill and Pocomoke chambers of commerce will host its annual Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast at the Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel in Ocean City.
For 28 years, the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast has served as an uplifting event where community members – including residents, elected officials, church congregations, police and fire departments, the business community, the board of education, nonprofit organizers and more – can come together. This will be the third year the chambers have combined on hosting the effort after founder Bruce Spangler retired from organizing the event.
This year’s keynote speaker will be Victor Mooney, the first African American man to row across any ocean.
In February of 2014, Mooney began a 21-month rowing journey from the Canary Islands to New York City in an effort to raise awareness for HIV/AIDS research.
During his mission, Mooney endured several setbacks, including a shark attack, starvation and a run-in with Haitian pirates, but succeeded in reaching his destination in November of 2015.
Lisa Layfield, events director for the Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce, said Mooney’s story is inspirational.
“It’s truly a story of faith, hope and determination,” she said. “The lessons from it are things people can use in their everyday life.”
This will not be Mooney’s first trip to Ocean City. In 2015, Mooney made a pit stop in Ocean City during his journey from West Africa to New York.
Layfield said she used the opportunity to ask Mooney to return to Ocean City for a future speaking engagement.
“I asked him to come speak about his journey before he even finished it,” Layfield joked. “He was thrilled to come.”
In addition to Mooney’s presentation, Layfield said participants will also enjoy an opening prayer, breakfast buffet, music and addresses from other guest speakers.
This year’s Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast will be held on Friday, Jan. 12 in the Crystal Ballroom of the Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel. Check-in will take place from 7 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. The event will begin at 8 a.m.
Ticket are on sale now for $20 each or $300 per sponsor table (includes 10 tickets and sponsor recognition on the table and in the program).
Tickets can be purchased online at www.oceancity.org or by visiting the Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s a great mix of people and a great way to start the year off on a positive note,” Layfield said.
During his 2015 journey, The Dispatch caught up with Mooney during his stop in Ocean City. Mooney docked his 24-foot Brazilian made vessel called the “Spirit of Malabo” at the White Marlin Marina in downtown Ocean City before heading north to complete his trek.
Mooney recounted in an interview how unexpected weather patterns caused him to detour toward Haiti after passing the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
“I can remember it like it was yesterday, first one pirate boat came, then another, then another, and when they put a line on my cleat, I knew what time it was,” said Mooney. “I was ready to meet my maker, but thankfully, my AIS (Automatic Identification System) and my GPS receiver alerted officials to where I was, and I was quickly rescued.”
Mooney spent more time in Ocean City in September of 2015 than he originally planned due to Hurricane Joaquin that was threatening the coast. The Harrison Group donated a room for Mooney to stay in and ride out the storm before he completed the last leg of his trip to New York City.