Is your idea of retirement taking a perilous journey across the sea to stand up to one of the world's best armies and help people

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Best Octogenarian Activist

David Schermerhorn

Is your idea of retirement taking a perilous journey across the sea to stand up to one of the world's best armies and help people you believe are oppressed? No? Well, apparently it's David Schermerhorn's. The 80-year-old Orcas Island resident, avid sailor, and former television producer was among those who in May defied Israeli warnings and set sail on a flotilla of ships aiming to deliver medical aid and other supplies directly to Palestinians in Gaza. It was to be his fourth such trip. He made it through each time except this last, when the flotilla was boarded by Israeli troops. In the fighting that ensued, the soldiers killed nine of the passengers and arrested the rest, including Schermerhorn, later released. Say what you will about the contentious cause he's adopted, you've got to admire his verve. —Nina Shapiro

 
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