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Did You Know Mitt Romney Rescued NJ Family in Sinking Boat?

Tewksbury family was saved by Romney and two of his sons back when he was governor of Massachusetts.

Now that Mitt Romney seems to have cemented his frontrunner status as the next Republican candidate for U.S. president, I'm left wondering what an online political commentator also has asked — why doesn't the candidate ever mention an incident in which he rescued a Hunterdon County family in a sinking boat?

At the time, on July 4 weekend in 2003, I was a reporter covering Tewksbury Township for an area newspaper.

That year, Mitt Romney was just starting his time as Massachusetts governor. Apparently, he was vacationing with his family on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, as was the Morrissey family from New Jersey.

As I remember it, the story was that it was getting dark when the Morrisseys' boat began to sink. Meanwhile, Robert Morrissey's cell phone hit the water just as he was attempting to call for help.

A report published in Massachusetts from the time says the then-governor "rode to the rescue over the weekend during a vacation trip — using his Jet Ski to help pluck a New Jersey family and their dog out of Lake Winnipesaukee after their boat sank."

In an account that jives with my memory, two of the Romney sons and their father each sped out on jet skis to the six members of the family, whose boat had sprung a sudden leak, and were afraid that they would not be noticed on the darkening lake.

The Romneys, working together, managed to rescue the six passengers—and their dog, too—prompting my interview with Robert Morrissey in 2003 during which the Tewksbury resident expressed his gratitude to the governor and his sons.

So this week, having made a phone call or two before and not getting through, I again called Morrissey to update the story and ask the question that certainly had me very curious. Was he going to vote for Romney in the upcoming primary election, and in the presidential election if he is chosen as the Republican nominee?

Perhaps because he remembered my name (who knows?), the Tewksbury resident picked up the phone—but then said he didn't want to talk about Romney yet again.

I gathered from our brief conversation that Morrissey had been beseiged by reporters from Boston on down back when the incident occurred in 2003. Now, "I don't want to rehash it," he insisted politely.

Like any good reporter, I urged him to give me a call if he changed his mind about talking.

He softened a little, and said he might call me if the former Massachusetts governor indeed becomes president of the United States. In that case, he quipped, "My boat will be worth a lot more."

eric March 09, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Thanks for not burying this story like the MSM has done with Obama's radical college days.
clarke March 09, 2012 at 02:28 PM
But then again, Obama has been consistently radical since his college days.
GJ March 09, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Thanks for sharing this story! It helps me like Mitt a bit more. -Still not going to vote for him (or any other of the current R- pres candidates), but I really do like him more so.
Pamela A Mackey March 09, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Now it is time for Mitt Romney to rescue America!
Annie April 06, 2012 at 01:37 AM
So now your trying to show his human side not the Mr.Roboto. Good for him helped someone. I still feel bad for all the people he fired. I bet they don't get FANCY vacations & have jet skis.
Linda Sadlouskos (Editor) April 06, 2012 at 01:43 AM
Annie -- I'm only curious why no one has picked up on this little bit of Mitt Romney history -- which also is part of my history as a reporter. Certainly, 2003 was the first time I had ever heard his name!
Tim Gillis April 06, 2012 at 04:45 AM
It would have been impressive if the so-called "blue collar" candidate actually risked his own life to save these people. Not gingerly pulled on a throttle on his whatever-thousand dollar jet ski as he rides over to them (maybe even on accident) and decides, "Hell why not? This might look good come election time"....but no, no, he's definitely interested in the lives of the average American over his own interests and self. This article literally should not even be mentioned, it's going to just suck the "kitchen table" activists who haven't decided on who to vote for yet to vote for Romney. And I'm not saying I like Obama, either. What I am saying is that it's not these types of stories that should result in an election win. It should be how much they actually care about not only the good of America, but the good of the future of mankind. And no, I'm not a hardcore left wing. I'll kill a fucking animal and eat it if I have to. And if you piss me off I'll tell you to go to hell. But this article is one example of why I am so pissed off at this world today. God dammit.
matt emmett townsend May 18, 2012 at 05:42 AM
TIM GILLIS your missing the point, he never made a point to mention this.... He just let it go, it is us that remember it for him. Different then many people who would have made a point to get the story out... Romney even if you dislike his politics is a real person, who does things because they are right to do. And tim, this is just part of the story, not every article will tell you everything about a person. It is up to us "we the people" to study the people running and who they are and what they stand for then make our choices...
Donald Trump June 15, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Romney rescued a family in a sinking boat, obama let the economy drown

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