Valerie van Heest

ValerieVanHeestWheelValerie Olson van Heest, an award winning author and member of the Women Divers Hall of Fame, is a 25+ year veteran shipwreck explorer who combines her passion documenting historic shipwrecks with her creative and interpretive abilities to preserve and promote Great Lakes maritime history. Her mission is to share the stories with adults and children through public lectures, museum exhibits, articles, and books in ways to educate, entertain and inspire.

She is the recipient of four awards from the Historical Society of Michigan: a 2007 award for excellence of achievement in the collection, preservation, and promotion of state and local history, a 2008 award for her book Icebound! The Adventures of Young George Sheldon and the SS Michigan, a 2009 award for her book written with William Lafferty, Buckets and Belts: Evolution of the Great Lakes Self Unloaders, three regional awards for Lost on the Lady Elgin, and a 2009 award shared with the Heritage Museum for a collaborative special museum exhibit and public event.

Valerie has written extensively for a variety of magazines and documentary films. She has appeared on major television news networks as well as the Discovery Channel and is a regular presenter at museums, libraries, and film festivals sharing the dramatic stories of ships gone missing on the Great Lakes. Her work has been featured in the book, Voices of the Sweetwater Seas by Bill Keefe and Shipwreck Hunter by Gerry Volgenau. In addition to the books listed above, she has written Unsolved Mysteries, the Shipwreck Thomas Hume, Lost and Found: Legendary Lake Michigan Shipwrecks, and she is currently working on Fatal Crossing about the long missing Northwest Flight 2501. Visit her personal website or the Northwest Fight 2501 commemorative web page

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