Super Senior: Jon Porter - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Super Senior: Jon Porter

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It's only fitting that Jon Porter would make his early morning commute to work by boat.

"She can be a mean old lake when she wants to be, though," he commented.

At dawn, Lake Champlain is fairly calm for his journey from Ticonderoga, New York, to Shoreham, Vermont. Jon is a ferry captain and soon he'll be on a much bigger boat.

"A lot of work to get this thing going in the morning," he said.

Jon is here over an hour before the first customers arrive. And there's much to do, like putting up the Vermont flag.

"It's the most important one, you know," he said. "It has the cows on it and everything."

Jon is partial to cows. He was a farmer in Ticonderoga, but he and his wife, Dianne, sold the herd years ago.

Now, Jon works three days a week, putting in 13-hour days.

"I can't imagine at his age getting up every day and doing all the stuff he does," Alison Matot said. "He loves being here."

Matot's family owns the ferry. Jon has worked for four owners.

"Pretty good," he said. "All these years here."

Fifty years in fact.

Reporter Joe Carroll: You're kind of a big deal here, hunh?

Jon Porter: One of the big shots! (laughing)

The Fort Ticonderoga Ferry is unique. It's the only one on the lake that is cable-driven. Installed in the 1940s, it consists of two lines anchored on both ends of the lake. It keeps the boat straight even in rough weather.

The May through October ferry is also historic; there has been a boat of one type or another crossing these water next to Fort Ticonderoga since the Revolutionary War.

"See, we do things the old-fashioned way down here. It's not the other ferries up north," Jon said.

The riders are a mix of tourists and commuters. Jon greets many of them by name.

"Morning pumpkin, how are you?" he asked one.

Jon, who is just a few days shy of 78, has to make a choice next year-- renew or not renew his captain's license.

Joe Carroll: Big decision?

Jon Porter: Probably going to be a big decision. Everybody says, 'Oh, we'll miss you if you don't stay here!'

For now, his thoughts are with his customers.

"You meet a lot of nice people on here," he said.

The trip across the lake takes only take 10 minutes. For Jon, it's been a journey of a lifetime.

"Have a good day!" he said.

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