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HomeNewsArchivesMarine Terminal at Crown Bay Named for Austin 'Babe' Monsanto

Marine Terminal at Crown Bay Named for Austin 'Babe' Monsanto

Nov. 18, 2008 — "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country" is one of President John F. Kennedy's most famous quotes.
Austin "Babe" Monsanto brings the spirit of Kennedy's words to life, serving the people of the Virgin Islands and the United States every day, and that has been the case for a whole lot of days.
Tuesday, the 82-year-old Monsanto was lauded by the territory when it dedicated and renamed the Crown Bay Cruise Ship Marine Terminal in his name. The ceremony, hosted by the V.I. Port Authority, brought to the Marine Terminal the Charlotte Amalie High School Band, a steel pan ensemble, the American Legion choir and more than 200 guests.
"We are here today to honor one of our own," said Cassan Pancham, chairman of the V.I. Port Authority board. "It is appropriate that this facility should bear his name."
As the retired marine manager of the V.I. Port Authority and as chairman of the V.I. Coastal Zone Management Commission, Monsanto has a unique understanding of what it took to bring the facility from a cargo dock with finger piers to the cruise ship and retail center that it is today.
Harry L. Magras, who was Monsanto's assistant at the Port Authority and later became marine manager, recalls the days when Crown Bay was all water, finger piers and cargo docks.
"This didn't come about overnight," Magras said, taking in the surroundings.
The 1960s trade embargo of Cuba made St. Thomas' harbor one of the busiest destinations in the Caribbean. Up until the early 1970s, all cruise-ship traffic went to the West Indies Company Dock at Havensight, according to Kenn Hobson, the Port Authority's executive director.
"On the busiest days, there were up to 11 cruise ships in the harbor," Hobson said. "There was a clear need for creation of the Crown Bay facility."
Indeed, the cruise-ship docks at the Monsanto Marine Terminal, which was completed in 2005, can now accommodate very large ships, including all 936 feet of length of the Holland America Line's MS Eurodam, which recently paid her maiden call to the terminal that now bears Monsanto's name.
"It has evolved into a first-class facility, and has improved the visitor experience," Hobson said.
Speakers also lauded Monsanto for his innumerable contributions to the young people of the Virgin Islands; his military service during World War II and Korea; his work with the American Legion Patrick U. George Post 90, the Rotary Club St. Thomas and the Chamber of Commerce; and service as a member of the V.I. Lottery board and president of the American Hibiscus Society.
On a typical day Monsanto is involved with at least three activities, said his granddaughter, Shirrell Monsanto. On one such day recently, she regarded him as he organized meal deliveries to senior citizens, made calls in preparation for an upcoming CZM meeting and located a hibiscus delivery from Puerto Rico, all the while stirring a pot of soup for that evening's fund raiser at the American Legion.
Monsanto belonged to a generation of doers, Shirrell said, calling him a master of multitasking. Those who work with Monsanto can expect early-morning calls.
"He is a shameless beggar for children, whether it is for uniforms or clothes or funds for travel," his granddaughter noted, drawing nods, smiles, laughter and applause from the 200-plus member audience.
Gov. John deJongh Jr. agreed, noting the many times that a child would come up to him at some event, saying Monsanto said a contribution was needed for something.
The governor also explained the kind of respect he holds for the octogenarian and his wife.
"They knew me when I was in diapers," the governor said, recalling boyhood trips with the Monsantos to Lovongo Cay. "It was only after I became governor that I started calling them by their first names. Before that it was always 'Mr. and Mrs. Monsanto.'"
Monsanto and his wife, Alda Schulterbrandt Monsanto, have been married for 53 years.
Mrs. Monsanto also drew praises from deJongh and other dignitaries for her considerable contributions to the community.
Monsanto is a man of a lot of firsts to his name. He was a founding member of the Virgin Islands' first Cub Scout pack, the first native Virgin Islander to become a National Park ranger and the first black park ranger to attend the National Park Training Center, to name a few.
Monsanto himself had few words at the ceremony and the unveiling of the new sign.
"I'm humbled," Monsanto said. "It's beautiful — you can see it from a long way off."
Collette Monroe, chief of staff for Sen. Louis P. Hill, read aloud the resolution that recognized Monsanto and gave the facility its new name.
Monroe said she had spent some time with Monsanto, going over his accomplishments while drafting the resolution, and said she holds Monsanto and his service to the community in the highest regard.
"I want to be just like him when I grow up." Monroe said.
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Nov. 18, 2008 -- "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country" is one of President John F. Kennedy's most famous quotes.
Austin "Babe" Monsanto brings the spirit of Kennedy's words to life, serving the people of the Virgin Islands and the United States every day, and that has been the case for a whole lot of days.
Tuesday, the 82-year-old Monsanto was lauded by the territory when it dedicated and renamed the Crown Bay Cruise Ship Marine Terminal in his name. The ceremony, hosted by the V.I. Port Authority, brought to the Marine Terminal the Charlotte Amalie High School Band, a steel pan ensemble, the American Legion choir and more than 200 guests.
"We are here today to honor one of our own," said Cassan Pancham, chairman of the V.I. Port Authority board. "It is appropriate that this facility should bear his name."
As the retired marine manager of the V.I. Port Authority and as chairman of the V.I. Coastal Zone Management Commission, Monsanto has a unique understanding of what it took to bring the facility from a cargo dock with finger piers to the cruise ship and retail center that it is today.
Harry L. Magras, who was Monsanto's assistant at the Port Authority and later became marine manager, recalls the days when Crown Bay was all water, finger piers and cargo docks.
"This didn't come about overnight," Magras said, taking in the surroundings.
The 1960s trade embargo of Cuba made St. Thomas' harbor one of the busiest destinations in the Caribbean. Up until the early 1970s, all cruise-ship traffic went to the West Indies Company Dock at Havensight, according to Kenn Hobson, the Port Authority's executive director.
"On the busiest days, there were up to 11 cruise ships in the harbor," Hobson said. "There was a clear need for creation of the Crown Bay facility."
Indeed, the cruise-ship docks at the Monsanto Marine Terminal, which was completed in 2005, can now accommodate very large ships, including all 936 feet of length of the Holland America Line's MS Eurodam, which recently paid her maiden call to the terminal that now bears Monsanto's name.
"It has evolved into a first-class facility, and has improved the visitor experience," Hobson said.
Speakers also lauded Monsanto for his innumerable contributions to the young people of the Virgin Islands; his military service during World War II and Korea; his work with the American Legion Patrick U. George Post 90, the Rotary Club St. Thomas and the Chamber of Commerce; and service as a member of the V.I. Lottery board and president of the American Hibiscus Society.
On a typical day Monsanto is involved with at least three activities, said his granddaughter, Shirrell Monsanto. On one such day recently, she regarded him as he organized meal deliveries to senior citizens, made calls in preparation for an upcoming CZM meeting and located a hibiscus delivery from Puerto Rico, all the while stirring a pot of soup for that evening's fund raiser at the American Legion.
Monsanto belonged to a generation of doers, Shirrell said, calling him a master of multitasking. Those who work with Monsanto can expect early-morning calls.
"He is a shameless beggar for children, whether it is for uniforms or clothes or funds for travel," his granddaughter noted, drawing nods, smiles, laughter and applause from the 200-plus member audience.
Gov. John deJongh Jr. agreed, noting the many times that a child would come up to him at some event, saying Monsanto said a contribution was needed for something.
The governor also explained the kind of respect he holds for the octogenarian and his wife.
"They knew me when I was in diapers," the governor said, recalling boyhood trips with the Monsantos to Lovongo Cay. "It was only after I became governor that I started calling them by their first names. Before that it was always 'Mr. and Mrs. Monsanto.'"
Monsanto and his wife, Alda Schulterbrandt Monsanto, have been married for 53 years.
Mrs. Monsanto also drew praises from deJongh and other dignitaries for her considerable contributions to the community.
Monsanto is a man of a lot of firsts to his name. He was a founding member of the Virgin Islands' first Cub Scout pack, the first native Virgin Islander to become a National Park ranger and the first black park ranger to attend the National Park Training Center, to name a few.
Monsanto himself had few words at the ceremony and the unveiling of the new sign.
"I'm humbled," Monsanto said. "It's beautiful -- you can see it from a long way off."
Collette Monroe, chief of staff for Sen. Louis P. Hill, read aloud the resolution that recognized Monsanto and gave the facility its new name.
Monroe said she had spent some time with Monsanto, going over his accomplishments while drafting the resolution, and said she holds Monsanto and his service to the community in the highest regard.
"I want to be just like him when I grow up." Monroe said.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.