Donate . . . .


Saturday, May 7, 2011

We MADE it! . . . now DONATE IT! Click HERE to Donate to Autism Speaks!

Voyage for Autism Awareness

Share your Adventures with SpotAdventures

The Voyage for Autism Awareness wishes to thank the hundreds of people who supported this awesome event, both physically and financially, and made it such a success!
Here are some statistics for the trip:

**Miles traveled: 451 statute miles ('SPRAY' was rowed or sailed for all but about 16 miles, for which she was towed due to safety reasons [twice] & waterway restrictions [once], and portaged over 6 miles of asphalt from the Delaware River to the D&R Canal.)

**States covered: 6, and the District of Columbia (DC, VA, MD, DE, PA, NJ, NY)

**Days to reach NY: 15 (2 down days due to weather)

**Funds raised: as of 05/15/11 - over $10,300. People are still donating . . . DID YOU?

**Objects struck: 1 Red Buoy, somewhere on the Potomac, below Quantico Marine Corps Base

**Number of great people encountered along the way: COUNTLESS!


Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Here are a few pics and vids to hold you over until we have more time to organize . . . .
Day 1 - Washington D.C. to Dumfries, VA

Day 2 - Dumfries, VA to Colonial Beach, VA

Monday, May 2, 2011


The Voyage concluded today impressively escorted by FDNY's Marine Unit "Three Forty Three" and received by the Village Community Boathouse.
Give us a day of rest and we will post pics & vids of the whole trip!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Next Stop NEW YORK! Click HERE to Donate to AUTISM SPEAKS!

Go to WWW.FREEDOMFROMFIRE.COM for more info on the Regional Autism Awareness Initiative & to see videos of "The Voyage"!

Many thanks to Rob Buchanan of The Village Community Boathouse . . . 

. . . for arranging the perfect venue for finishing up the Voyage for Autism Awareness in New York on Monday, May 2nd!
See Christina Carty's Press Release below for details:

From:              AUTISM SPEAKS

Contact:          CHRISTINA CARTY– (856) 858-5400; CCARTY@AUTISMSPEAKS.ORG




NEW YORK CITY, NY (MONDAY, MAY 2) Philadelphia Firefighter, Neil Calore, will end his 425-mile rowing and sailing adventure for autism awareness from D.C. to N.Y.C. at the Village Community Boathouse between 10:00 am and 11:00 am.  The Boathouse is located on Pier 40 at the end of West Houston Street in Hudson River Park.  The boathouse is on the south, or downtown, side of the pier.  Autism Speaks and the Philadelphia Fire Department thanks the Village Community Boathouse and members of the New York Fire Department for welcoming The Voyage for Autism Awareness.

Captain Calore was inspired to raise autism awareness by close friends who have a child with autism.   He set sail on his homemade 17-foot dory, “Spray,” on April 17th in D.C, followed by a support team which includes Fire Lieutenant Bill Drennen and Firefighter Bill Mattox.  Landings in Baltimore and his hometown of Philadelphia drew large crowds that included firefighters and medical responders, members of the autism community, and an inspired general public.  
The Philadelphia Fire Department released a Regional Autism Awareness Initiative in conjunction with Neil’s voyage for first responders and for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) care providers.  The initiative consists of an educational campaign to acquaint firefighters and paramedics with how to recognize various types of ASD indicators in persons at emergency scenes. It also includes basic communication techniques for individuals with autism who may not respond to verbal stimuli in a traditional manner.
Neil has raised more than $6,000 so far in support of the mission of Autism Speaks, the nation’s largest research and advocacy organization.  Donations can be made directly to Autism Speaks at:

Donations to fund the Voyage for Autism Awareness and the Philadelphia Regional Autism Awareness Initiative can be made through The Fireman’s Hall Museum, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit. Their link is or checks can be mailed to The Philadelphia Fire Department Historical Corporation, 147 N. 2nd Street, Philadelphia., PA 19106-2010.
Captain Calore’s progress can be seen on real-time maps and in videos at

About Autism
Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that inhibits a person's ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by behavioral challenges. Autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed in one in 110 children in the United States, affecting four times as many boys as girls. The prevalence of autism increased 57 percent from 2002 to 2006. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called autism a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown.
About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is North America’s largest autism science and advocacy organization. Since its inception in 2005, Autism Speaks has made enormous strides, committing over $142.5 million to research through 2014 and developing innovative new resources for families. The organization is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. In addition to funding research, Autism Speaks has created resources and programs including the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network, Autism Speaks’ Autism Genetic Resource Exchange and several other scientific and clinical programs. Notable awareness initiatives include the establishment of the annual United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, which Autism Speaks celebrates through its Light it Up Blue initiative. Also, Autism Speaks award-winning “Learn the Signs” campaign with the Ad Council has received over $249 million in donated media. Autism Speaks’ family resources include the Autism Video Glossary, a 100 Day Kit for newly-diagnosed families, a Transition Kit for teens entering into their adulthood years, a School Community Tool Kit, and a community grant program.  Autism Speaks has played a critical role in securing federal legislation to advance the government’s response to autism, and has successfully advocated for insurance reform to cover behavioral treatments in 25 states thus far.  Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 80 cities across North America. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit

# # #

Today the Voyage for Autism Awareness will make it to Trenton, NJ, where 'SPRAY' will be pulled out of the water and prepared for the 32 mile journey across NJ to New Brunswick. Tomorrow at 0700 hrs, we will enter the D&R Canal at Whitehead road and reach the first of 5 locks in Kingston between 0930 & 1000 hrs.. Come out and give us a hand when we portage the boat around the locks and check out the beautiful scenery along the way. Contact me at 215-906-2146 for more info. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Next Stop NEW YORK! . . . Click HERE to Donate to Autism Speaks!

Go to WWW.FREEDOMFROMFIRE.COM  to see daily videos!

Today the Voyage for Autism Awareness will make it to Trenton, NJ, where 'SPRAY' will be pulled out of the water and prepared for the 32 mile journey across NJ to New Brunswick. Tomorrow at 0700 hrs, we will enter the D&R Canal at Whitehead road and reach the first of 5 locks in Kingston between 0930 & 1000 hrs.. Come out and give us a hand when we portage the boat around the locks and check out the beautiful scenery along the way. Contact me at 215-906-2146 for more info. 

Come greet us at the INDEPENDANCE SEAPORT MUSEUM, Wednesday, April 27th. Admission free from 10am; Parking free from 1pm & Refreshments FREE!
The Voyage will arrive at 3 pm, but arrive early and enjoy the museum.
Those wishing to attend should enter at the Walnut Street parking gate and ask for the commemorative card which will grant them free access to the event.
Visit for directions and more information.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Next Stop PHILLY . . . Click HERE to Donate to Autism Speaks!

Go to WWW.FREEDOMFROMFIRE.COM  to see daily videos!

The Anne Arundel Fire and The Maryland Department of Natural Resource Police marine units will escort us to the City Dock in Annapolis today. We should arrive late afternoon, so stop doown, say hello and buy a Voyage for Autism Awareness T-Shirt!

The Voyage for Autism Awareness is making good progress and will be joined by the Baltimore City Fire Department's Fire Boat at the Key bridge, 11 a.m.,  and escorted to their Station, Ft. McHenry, arriving at 12 noon Saturday, April 23rd.
The BCFD is a class act and is rolling out the red carpet to help us raise awareness for Autism. Local hospitals, Autism advocacy groups and other community based groups will be at the event which is open to the general public. Contact FF. Mike Hineline 443-992-3466 for details. Come out and support a great cause!

Here are a few photos from the trip so far . . .

Friday, April 15, 2011

We are UNDER WAY! Click HERE to Donate to Autism Speaks!!!!!!!


Go to WWW.FREEDOMFROMFIRE.COM  to see daily videos!

From The MAYOR . . .
Philadelphia's Mayor Michael Nutter sends a message about Autism & 'The Voyage':

Thanks, Mayor Nutter, for supporting The Voyage for Autism Awareness!

From the Commissioner . . .
As seen on the Philadelphia Fire Department's 'FREEDOM from FIRE' website, Commissioner Lloyd Ayers wishes 'The Voyage' well

Thanks for your support Commissioner!

We're ON-DECK!
The Voyage for Autism Awareness has been activated and will soon shove-off from Washington, DC!
Thanks to the much-appreciated efforts of BC Dave Povlitz and Captain Mike Greenhawk of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department, Bill Drennen and the support boat . . .

. . . were docked at the Sandy Point State Park Fire Boat Station last night.
Bill Mattox, 'SPRAY' and myself are heading down this morning through the very generous efforts of Nick Marzano of 911 Safety Equipment in Norristown, PA.
We should all arrive at Fire Boat 1's station in DC this afternoon and start setting up for the long haul.

If the latest NOAA Weather Forecast for tomorrow holds true . . .

. . . our departure will be postponed until Sunday the 17th!

NBC's 'the 10! show  . . . .
 . . . with Jillian Mele!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011



The Voyage for Autism Awareness
in Real-Time on
Google Maps
SPOT 2 GPS Satellite Tracker! 
Starting April 16th, the above map will show our position from DC to NYC 

NBC10's Doug Shimell did a nice job on this news clip:

They Got Our Backs!
The following Public Safety agencies have officially embraced "The Voyage". Those in RED are escorting us through their respective jurisdictions:

USCG Sector Delaware Bay
USCG Sector Baltimore
USCG Point Lookout Station
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Maryland Natural Resources Police
Charles County (MD) Sheriff's Office and Emergency Services Marine Unit 
Anne Arundel County (MD) Fire Dept. and Marine Police
Fairfax County (VA) Fire and Rescue 
Prince George's County (MD) Fire/EMS Department
DC Fire & EMS Department Fire Boat 1
Baltimore City Fire Department Fire Boat 1
Philadelphia Fire Department Marine Unit 1
FDNY's Marine 1
Alexandria Fire Department
Quantico Fire & Emergency Services 
Cople District Volunteer Fire Department
Thanks for your SUPPORT!

We are trying to get more Eastern Shore, Delaware, New Jersey and New York agencies notified.
Please help pass the word!

The Junkyard Dawgs . . .
The 'D' Platoon at Engine 40, Ladder 4 and Medic 19  fed me a gourmet lunch, helped me test some 1-3/4" hose line, and presented me with some vital equipment to take on "The Voyage". 

According to FF. Jeff Eckert . . . 
1. With this spear, I will not go hungry
2. With these water-wings, I will not drown, and
3. With my friend Wilson, I will not be lonely

Thanks Gang! With this stuff, I have nothing to fear!
E.40, L.04 & M.19 are located at 65th & Woodland, Southwest Philly . . .

L-R: FSP J. Haines, FF J. Eckert, FF D. Fath, FF J. Reed, Wilson, Capt N. Calore, FF R. TreDenick, FF T. Gallagher, Lt W. Clay, FF M. Cardona, Lt K. Fong

PFD Capt (Ret) Jimmy Miller of Print & Sew has put together an awesome T-Shirt for The Voyage for Autism Awareness and The PFD's  Autism Fire Safety Campaign

Order on line at The Fireman's Hall Store website, or see one of the crew WHILE SUPPLIES LAST!

The Independence Seaport Museum, located at Philadelphia's historical Penn's Landing on the Delaware River, is hosting The Voyage for Autism Awareness when we make landfall in our home town. An exciting day is planned, including an escort in to town  by PFD Marine Unit 1 with water display. 

 L-R: Lt. Tom Gaskill, SOC; John Gazzola, President, Capt. Neil Calore, John Brady, Boat Shop Mgr, Hope Corse, Dir. of Marketing, Lt. Mike Grant, PIO
There will be FREE ADMISSION, FREE PARKING and FREE REFRESHMENTS at the Independence Seaport Museum that day. Keep your eyes peeled for our arrival date which will be announced here and in the local media!

It's always a good idea to make sure your boat is safe and has all the required equipment, especially before a 425+mile trip!   
Coordinating with LCDR Brad Kelly, USCG - Sector Delaware Bay, we met Paul Parravicini FSO-VE of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary at Quaker City Yacht Club to get Vessel Safety Checks prior to shove off in DC next Saturday.

QCYC is located on the Delaware River, North of the Tacony bridge.

. . . this old Mack pumper stands watch at the club with the Tacony Bridge in the background

As you have probably already figured out, there are quite a few Philly Firefighters that belong to Quaker City Yacht Club!

                                                                 L-R: John Mooney, Paul Parravicini, Eric Drennen, Bill Drennen 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Donate to Autism Speaks . . . Click Here!


The Voyage for Autism Awareness and the Philadelphia Fire Department's Autism Fire Safety Campaign are made possible by the following supporters.

Visit their websites or give them a call!


911 Safety Equipment
Chesapeake Light Craft
Fireman's Hall Museum
Moorehouse Sailmakers, Inc.
PFD's Freedom From Fire Website
Print and Sew, Inc.       215-281-3909  
Safeware, Inc.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

We Are Now in 'Autism Awareness Month'! Click HERE to Donate!

With less than two weeks to go, The Voyage for Autism Awareness is making it's final preparations!
This week was busy with a few more modifications to the boat to make it more safe and more comfortable. I also made a few changes to my work-out and diet to get acclimated to life in a small boat.

Northwest River Supplies, a.k.a. NRS has graciously contributed their 'Extreme SAR Drysuit' to The Voyage, and I thought it might be a good idea to get used to it now . . .

I was pleasantly surprised to find the suit to be pretty comfortable while rowing despite it's heavy duty construction and am confident it will do the job. The drysuit has white sleeves that glow in the dark and reflective material along the seams. Coupled with my reflective contact lenses, I should have no problem being seen at night . . .


You'll be able to track "The Voyage"  while under way since we'll be using the SPOT II Satellite GPS Messenger

SPOT provides real-time position information and displays it on a Google Map. It also has an SOS feature that'll send help if needed. Click Here to see the test page which shows a walk around the block.

 From a good friend . . .

As the father of a 22 year old autistic son this really warms my heart, Neil. Thankfully, awareness of this terrible disorder is spreading nation- wide. I wish Kathy and I had the wonderful support that goes out now to kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder. God bless your efforts, my brother. Your Godfather, 
                                                     ~Den Callaghan



Sunday, March 27, 2011

DON'T WAIT . . . DONATE! (click here)

Click Here to See Our Projected Route on Google Maps!


Here is the latest information on how to support The Voyage for Autism Awareness and the Philadelphia Fire Department's Autism Fire Safety Campaign:

DC - Baltimore - Philly – NYC
April 16-30, 2011
Philadelphia Fire Captain Neil Calore will row/sail his 17’ home-built wooden dory 425+ miles to raise awareness for Autism, stopping at Fire Boat Stations in Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York. NBC News is covering the event in all four cities.
Donations go directly to Autism Speaks, the nation’s largest science and advocacy group, and can be made through the following web link:
Support Boat Operations: Lt. Bill Drennen / 215-370-6579 /
                         Logistics: FF. Bill Mattox / 215-435-1311 /

In conjunction, the Philadelphia Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Division will release a Regional Autism Fire Safety Campaign which will address issues concerning Autism and how families affected can effectively prepare Fire Escape Plans, and prepare for the arrival of First Responders in emergency situations. Contact PIO Lt. Mike Grant 215-686-1382 for more information.
Help fund the Regional Autism Fire Safety Campaign and The Voyage for Autism Awareness through The Fireman’s Hall Museum, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
The Fireman’s Hall Museum Store donation link:
Or mail checks to:The Philadelphia Fire Department 
                               Historical Corporation
                               147 N. 2nd St.
                               Philadelphia, PA 19106-2010
                               Attn: Autism Campaign


'SPRAY' got wet today for the first time since last December and underwent a rigorous shake-down. It was cold, wet and blustery, but she passed with flying colors. 
Unfortunately, I did not have my camera with me. So the only picture I got was this one, taken with my cheap cell phone . . .

More from those we are trying to help . . .

I read the article about your voyage for Autism Awareness.... Thank you so much. I get teary eyed just thinking about your effort. My son has Asperger's Syndrome. I noticed something was different at the age of 2.. He wasnt talking... His dr told me I was overreacting... After much pushing, he was tested... Early Intervention has helped so much.
                        ~Mary Ann Rota

My son, his brother, and his mom and dad thank you so much for giving a voice to so many. when the days get tough seeing someone like you drys some of the tears and even brings a smile thank you!
                             ~Jody Brown

Firefighting runs in our family, and our little guy's daddy is a firefighter. Can you please give us more ideas on how to organize the safety campaign specifically for those with autism and special needs, or is there one in place we can find? Does IAFF (International Association of Fire Fighters) Union know about this safety campaign?
                           ~Rachell Reilly
Thank you from a mother of 2 on the spectrum: a 19-year-old son and a 7-year-old daughter. Its people like you who make all the difference in the world!
                           ~Carrie Thompson Porder
Thank you soo much God Speed and God bless!! My 5 yr old son was diagnosed Autism just yesterday!!!!!!
                           ~Yvette Pavia Pavlock 

Sunday, March 20, 2011


There are many heartbreaking tales of how ASD's affect the individual, their immediate families and society as a whole. One such story was sent in by Darlene Taylor, a co-worker and one of the nicest people I know:

Neil, first I want to say, thank you. 

You and many others are sensitive to the need of Autism Awareness globally.  As you know through our conversations, that I have a personal interest in this awesome endeavor.  My grandson, whom I've adopted is 71/2 years old and is on the Spectrum. 

I began to notice changes in his behavior and social communication since he was 3 years old.  Immediately, I began to seek help and services for him.  I found that unless one is a strong advocate for your child, he would be denied the help that he so desperately needs and deserves.  So, I refused to take no for an answer.

My grandson has a behavorial disorder that needed special attention.The IEP indicated to me what my rights were so I fought the system until my baby received the help he needed. 

Finally, the system relented and acknowledged that he needed to be seen by a Psychiatrist, gave me a list to choose from, that they recommended and paid for all visits.   All of the testing confirmed what I had known all along.

 We have a long way to go and I am prepared to do what I must in advocating for my grandson.  I encourage everyone to continue to fight the good fight of faith and be persistent, because it pays off.  My prayers are with Neil and his team and everyone that is supportive of this fantastic Voyage to raise and increase awareness for Autism globally.

~Darlene Taylor

Thanks Darlene; your grandson is lucky to have you. Hopefully, more awareness will help families like yours get help easier and sooner!

With less than 4 weeks to go, 'SPRAY' is almost ready to go in the water. Unfortunately, I was sick last week and haven't worked out since last Monday. But I feel good now and am ready to hit the "ERG" again tomorrow!

Here's more about the Voyage . . .

Down Rivers, Up Bays, Across Canals

The Voyage will make use of  several diverse bodies of water getting from Washington, DC to NY. ETA's are based on fair winds and no boat problems, with slim odds on maintaining both for the entire trip!

Leg #1: DC to Baltimore - 6 or 7 days

This first leg is about half the trip. We'll take the Potomac River from DC's Fire Boat Station . . .

. . . to the Chesapeake Bay, then up the Patapsco River to Fort McHenry and BCFD's Fire Boat 1. 

1. Point Lookout, where the Potomac meets the Bay. A confluence of strong currents, when coupled with strong opposing winds can create large waves.
2. The Lower Chesapeake Bay is wide and deep, and is said to have an identity crisis;  it thinks it's an ocean! 
We'll be keeping a sharp eye on the weather, especially on this leg.

Leg #2: Baltimore to Philly - 3 or 4 days

It's further up The Bay to the Chesapeake and Delaware (C&D) Canal, which links the two Bays. 

The C&D is normally prohibited to non-powered vessels due to its narrow channel and its use by large commercial vessels, but The Voyage for Autism Awareness has obtained authorization from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to row through, provided we follow a few minor constraints. A great big THANKS to Jim Tomlin, Supervisory Civil Engineer, USACE - Chesapeake City for his persistent efforts in getting this approved!
Once on the Delaware side of the Canal, we'll hang a left and head North up the Delaware Bay and River to Philly's Marine Unit 1.

1. The C&D Canal. Large commercial traffic cannot maneuver in the narrow channel and must be avoided. 
2. Several knot currents run through the Canal in both directions. Entering must be timed to use a following current.
3. Big ships, strong currents and few places to pull out of the way are challenges on the Delaware River up through Philly

Leg #3: Philly to NY - 3 to 5 days

The Voyage continues up the Delaware River to Trenton, where 'SPRAY' gets pulled out and trailered about 6 miles to the nearest navigable section of the Delaware & Raritan (D&R) Canal

The D&R was completed in 1834 and operated as a barge canal until 1932. Since the 1950's it has been used as a public water supply system and a New Jersey State Park. Thanks to Patricia Kallesser, Park Superintendent, Vicki Chirco, Park Historian and Ernie Hahn, Executive Director, D&R Canal Commission for their assistance and advice.
The D&R spills into, you guessed it, the Raritan River. Depending on the weather, The Voyage will enter New York Bay . . . 

. . . by either the Raritan Bay and the Verrazano Narrows, or the Arthur Kill and Kill Van Kull around Staten Island. The home stretch is up the Hudson River to Pier 40, Manhattan and FDNY's Marine 1.

1. 'SPRAY' will be have to be portaged (pulled out of the water, carried over land & put back in) around 5 non-functioning locks along the D&R Canal, and 1 more time to get from the Canal to the Raritan River.
2. The Raritan Bay takes the full brunt of the Atlantic Ocean when there's an East wind; The Arthur Kill and the Kull Van Kill are Plan B.
3. New York Bay is VERY busy. Tankers, container ships, ferries, tugs, barges . . . we'll keep our eyes peeled and the VHF radio on.

We'll be busy and we'll be careful, but it'll all be worth it if more people get to know what Autism is about and what people who have the disease and their families go through.