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Indian River Estates

2250 Indian Creek Blvd W, Vero Beach, FL 32966
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50 Years Later, a Father’s Day Gift is Finally Opened

An unopened Father's Day gift sat in Dwayne Zunner's closet for half a century.

“I still remember that Father’s Day,” said Dwayne, a resident at Indian River Estates in Vero Beach, Florida. “My daughter showed up with this kit of a ship.”

 “I was probably 11 or 12 years old,” said Laurie Zunner, Dwayne’s daughter, while reminiscing about the day she bought the model ship kit as a present for her father.

The ship depicted the famous Sea Witch, an American clipper ship launched in Manhattan in 1846.

“I can vaguely remember going with my mom to the store,” she said. “It’s a wooden ship, not the plastic models they make today.”

Back then, Dwayne worked diligently as an engineer at General Motors and kept busy with projects around the house. He put the box up in a closet to get to it “someday” when he had more time to put it together.

“I thought well, I guess it wasn’t the greatest Father’s Day gift to give him,” Laurie joked.

Some fifty years later, after a move from his New York home to Florida and another move to Acts Retirement-Life Communities, Dwayne finally opened his Father’s Day gift.

“I was in the closet and I spotted this box up there and I thought to myself, Laurie went through so much expense to get this for me and here I’ve done nothing about it,” Dwayne said.

A gift, fifty years in the making, then finally came to life. But it was no easy task.

Dwayne carved the wood, painted the intricate details and hoisted each rope through tiny pulleys. It took about six months to put together.

Laurie could not be more proud of her dad.

“It’s just beautiful and I’m touched he really enjoyed doing it,” she said. “It turned out to be a great Father’s Day gift after all!”

Happy Father’s Day, Dwayne!