Mini Profile #1: Lou Elsaesser

Lou Elsaesser in front of the Cuyahoga River near Station Rd. Bridge.

“I started doing volunteer work on a heavy basis when I retired 10 years ago. At that point, I got to use my degree in biology from when I graduated back in ’73. Most people thought when I was going to school that I would eventually be a park ranger or work with the forest service or something like that, but instead I went into the business world, and I had a pretty decent career there, but I kind of burned out, so it was time for me to start doing the things I really love doing. So it actually took me to retire to actually use my degree in some senses.

One of the things I enjoy the most about the park and everything associated with it is I now have community, if you will. I know a lot of people. I do a lot of things to help support them, and they do a lot of things to help support me as well, emotionally and intellectually and things like that.

I love the outdoors. I love the park. I’ve always loved the water. I was a swimmer, so you know, it’s always been about the water for me. You feel like you’re part of the water when you’re kayaking. Canoeing, you’re still above the water a little bit. And I never did a lot of canoeing, but I just feel really connected to the river. In fact, part of being in a kayak is you have to have your legs – you know, there’s pegs where you put your feet. You want that so your knees are locked into the boat. You are part of the boat. It’s not a separate movement. If the boat moves, you move. And that’s because you can make the boat move too, by leaning and just doing things like that. But you actually become part of the boat. I love that. I love that. And like I said before, if you give me six inches of water, I’ll put my boat in it if it’s got any interest whatsoever.”

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