Friday, July 15, 2011

‘Deadliest Catch’ Crewmember Lends Helping Hand in Hometown

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist
A Kittery man, the chief engineer of the F/V Northwestern, one of the boats featured on The Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch,” was lending a hand to a local charity at Bob’s Clam Hut last weekend during a visit to his hometown.
Darren M. Dyer, who grew up in Kittery and attended Kittery schools, graduating from Traip Academy, autographed books, photos and other memorabilia while talking to hundreds of people at Bob‘s Clam Hut to benefit Ethel’s Tree of Life last week.
Ethel’s Tree of Life aids people with disabilities and/or special needs. It is headquartered in South Berwick.
Dyer lived in Kittery from the time he was three until just after graduation when the family moved to Harrison, Maine. Two years ago he moved to Dutch Harbor, Alaska, and eventually became part of the popular show that depicts life and work onboard vessels fishing in the Bering Sea.
“I’ve only been a commercial fisherman now for three years,” Dyer said, smiling, while resting his hand from signing. “I hated the ocean growing up on it. I wanted nothing to do working on the fishing boat, and now here I am. I haven’t lived on land for three years.”
Dyer said the original idea for the show was to document the fishing industry in the Bering Sea.
“Once they got there and saw what it was like for the guys on the boat,” Dyer continued, “they decided to switch gears a little bit and maybe make a documentary on an individual boat and crew.”
Dyer said Capt. Sig Hansen’s boat, the Northwestern, was one of the first chosen for the project.
He’s known Jim and Linda Higgins since he was a child and, after seeing the web site, felt it was a very worthwhile cause. Linda Higgins is the chairwoman of the group’s Board of Directors.
Knowing he was coming home, he contacted Linda Higgins and they decided to work together to raise some awareness and raise some money for the whole foundation.
“I think it’s amazing to work with them,” he said. “There’s nothing I’d rather be doing right now and I’ve always loved Bob’s Clam Hut.”
Dyer is recuperating from ankle surgery.
Linda Higgins said Dyer “liked to give back to the community” and “likes what the Tree of Life does” so “it just evolved.”
She said Pat Barrigar, the general manager at Bob’s, was incredible and the whole project was set up in a little over a week.
Barrigar said she became involved by “answering a phone call. They called and asked if we could do something to help and we figured out a way to do it.”
In addition to providing space for the signings, a portion of the meals sold from the start of the session until closing were donated to the charity.
According to its web site, “Ethel’s Tree of Life is dedicated to working with young people who live with any disabilities and/or special needs.
“Special needs can be defined by anything that causes students to have difficulty learning, whether it be a disability or perhaps a situation at home (like a death in the family). ETL students learn to say ‘I can’ through many varied learning experiences.”
Additional information is available on the web site at
Dyer is on a crew with Capt. Sig Hansen, Norman Hansen, Edgar Hansen, Nick Mayvar and Jake Anderson.
Other charities the boat and crew helps include Wounded Warriors, Heroes to Heroes, Children’s Cancer Foundation and Women’s Breast Cancer.
Bob’s Clam Hut has been serving fried clams and other classic clam shack fare since 1956 and has long been a contributor to Ethel’s.
Photo caption: Darren Dyer, seated right, talking with Linda Higgins, seated left, of Ethel’s Tree of Life, and Pat Barrigar, standing, general manager at Bob’s Clam Hut. (Photo by Larry Favinger)