• Mr. Speaker, the Rice University Rowing team has taken a step to further rowing sports in the City of Houston. To help raise the funds needed to build a water sports facility on Buffalo Bayou in downtown Houston, two of the teams coaches will row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic in the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge. Coaches Mike Matson and David Alviar, attempting to be the first Texans to complete this feat, will begin this massive undertaking in the Canary Islands, and finish on the Caribbean island of Antigua.
  • The duo will take this challenge in a boat named after Ann McCormick Sullivan.
  • Ann Sullivan was a firefighter with Station 68 in Houston when on May 31, 2013 a 5-alarm fire at the Southwest Inn took the lives of 4 brave men and women, including Ann. This deadly fire completely shook the community. Ann was just 24 years old.
  • Coach Mike Matson was a volunteer firefighter in the City of Stafford and had the opportunity to run calls with Ann. Ann, nicknamed ``mighty mouse,'' was a strong, resilient firefighter, who was never afraid to step into danger to help others. Mike recalls training days when Ann would extend the heavy hose full of water to its full length, a task difficult even to the largest men on the squad. Ann lived up to this name, never wavering in her determination.
  • Coach Mike felt that it was fitting that the boat be named after one of Houston's heroes who truly represents the spirit of resilience needed for this race. Under the name Row4Rice the two coaches will raise money to build proper facilities to host rowing, kayaking, canoeing, and other water sports. They have pledged to donate $5,000 to the Ann McCormick Sullivan Foundation to support women in firefighting. Mike, David and the rest of the Rice rowing team are to be congratulated as they begin this massive undertaking in the spirit of one of Houston's heroes.
  • And that's just the way it is.