Michael French, a three-year-and-counting member of the board at Mariners Inn, was first introduced to the establishment in 1994.
French’s father passed away in 1990 and French remembers going to a groundbreaking ceremony and unveiling of the Dainforth Baker French building, named after his father, at Mariners Inn.
French’s grandfather donated funds in order to build the Dainforth Baker French building at Mariners Inn and ever since, Mariners Inn has been an organization that French has always kept in mind. About four years ago, French was driving downtown with his kids and he drove past the building and told his kids the history of it.
“They said it was the coolest thing they’d ever seen,” French said. After seeing their reaction and thinking more on it himself, French decided it was time to get involved.
“It was a way for me to carry on the legacy of my dad,” French said.
As a board member and volunteer, French is most proud of the missions at Mariners Inn, including the mission of reconnecting fathers with their families.
“It’s right in the heart of Detroit and we need to ride the wave of this resurgence in Detroit and it needs to be complemented by helping those who are so critical to helping the rebirth of Detroit,” French said of the organization. “Who better to focus in on than the fathers?.”
Around the holidays, Mariners Inn engages in many giving back initiatives, one of which is spearheaded by the residents themselves. The Adopt-A-Family program at Mariners Inn came to be after a group of residents decided they would give back to the community that gives back to them.
French said the enormity of an act like that is amazing and it’s his favorite time of year. His favorite part of the festivities is watching families open their gifts while they’re enjoying a luncheon with Mariners Inn.
“We need strong families in Detroit and Mariners is a key component,” French said.
French spends his free time going to sports games downtown with his family and sampling all the new restaurants in town. He also likes to get the word out about Mariners Inn whenever he can to friends, family and strangers alike.
There’s a sort of passion that’s hard to explain bouncing around the halls of Mariners Inn, French said, and he believes it’s contagious.
“You kind of get bit by the Mariners bug,” he said. “Get involved. All it takes is to walk in the doors of Mariners Inn, Take a quick tour around and it’s a life changer.
- Erica N. Rakowicz