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The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
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July 22, 2005     The Catalina Islander
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July 22, 2005
 

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Friday, July 22, 2005 The CATAUNA ISLANDER Page 3 , mm From page 1 boat and the captain of the crew, his mother said. It was not an easy path to walk, deciding to leave the island and a stable job to pursue further training and advancement, but easy is not what Len was looking for a6cording to Mrs. Lopez. "Even though Len left the Island to pursue his career, you never really leave the Island behind" said Mrs. Lo0 . "When Len made a decision he put everything he had into fol- lowing through with it," said Mrs. Lopez. Len "didn't give up during tough times," said Mrs. Lopez. Len stuck it out working his way up the local ladders at the harbor and after moving "over town" still had more rungs to climb. There were various skills and licenses to be obtained, tests to be passed, U.S. Coast Guard requirements to be met and other challenges along the way. It was just recently that Leonard Jr. passed what Mrs. lmpez calls "the bear of all tests;' the test to become Port Pilot. The rigorous training program involves more than a thousand hours of training and apprentice- ship under master pilots. There are tests and simulations of innumerable situations that can happen while piloting a tugboat and its cargo. "He had to work for months studying every square inch of the L.A. Harbor, all the depths, the docks, everything in and out before he could take the final test. It's really amazing what he's done;' said Mrs. Vincennes is Lo z. towed behind tim After overcoming the great many obstacles, tuglmat piloted by Len earned distinction as the youngest port Catalina Island's pilot in LA. Harbor. nathce son Len The achievement now has Leonard shoul- He iS !1~ dering such responsibility as towing fuel ship- youngtmt poet pilot merits and other difficult loads such as last in the Los ~ Friday's towing of the decommissioned Navy area. Seen at is cruiser all the way to the state of Washington. tim that It's a far cry from a salad boat in the har- Lo0CZ is captain ofbor. Leonard Lopez Jr.'s strong will and direc- while he pulls the tion made it possible for him to reach his military ship career goal. He stands as an example for the to WBhimjton young deckhands of today to take time to look state, to the horizon. Photo above by In the early morning a glimpse of their Dmmis ~ fiatm may just be passing by in the mist. i