Here at Dunn Lumber, we’re all about stories. Owners, customers, and employees all have stories to tell of the ways this company has been part of their lives. It’s those roots that make us want to be a part of the ongoing story—to make sure the stories go on to the next generation.
“The boys in the boat” and Dunn Lumber
The idea to make the documentary “Us Against the World: A Washington Rowing Legacy” began as we watched the PBS documentary “The Boys of ‘36,” which told the story of the U.S. Olympic rowing team that won a gold medal at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Representing the U.S. was the University of Washington’s rowing team, and as we watched the clip of the crew out on the water practicing, we couldn’t miss the large Dunn Lumber sign in the background.
Our roots go back over a hundred years, so we’re familiar with the Washington rowing legacy. My great-uncle, Charles, was on the 1923 rowing team, which was the first west coast crew to win a national championship—the first time a Pocock boat had won on the national stage. All these things together just had to be told, so we began to look for the source of the clip, which led to our desire to tell the story of the 1936 UW rowing team and our connection to them.
The Joe Rantz Memorial Boathouse
The footage proved difficult to get, but an opportunity arose when a longtime customer and friend asked if we were interested in helping with a boathouse being built in Lake Stevens, Washington. The boathouse was being constructed by the North Cascades Crew, supported by crew member Jennifer Huffman. Jennifer is an award-winning rower herself, and her grandfather was Joe Rantz, a member of that 1936 Olympic crew. Through this connection, we were able to be part of the present-day story of Joe Rantz’s legacy by providing materials for the boathouse going forward—and we were able to find (and use) the film clip in our own documentary, “Us Against the World.”
Dunn Lumber’s community involvement
When you work in a multi-generational company—both owners and customers, even employees—your idea of your connection to the community goes pretty deep. Whenever we’re asked to be part of any philanthropic effort, we look for the intersection of what we already do in the community and the work that our customers are doing to help the community. The Joe Rantz Boathouse and the documentary we made alongside it proved to be a wonderful story that connects with Dunn Lumber in so many ways. The film not only connects Dunn Lumber to that time, but it’s a reminder to a lot of our customers of the people they knew—or still know—who were touched by this story.
We have stories of our past as a company and of the past of the city we're in, and to be able to capture a little piece of a wonderful story that happened right there in our backyard and to be able to produce something so beautiful as the video is such a pleasure. It's a gift for the next generations to come.
Similarly, the boathouse is a physical reminder of a wonderful past and a gift of rowing to future generations. Rowing is, in itself, such a life-giving sport. To see the gift of rowing in the community at Lake Stevens—and Washington—is wonderful to be part of.
To learn more about the Joe Rantz Boathouse and the North Cascades Crew community, click here.