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Former Midwest City firefighter finds perfect retirement job as Oklahoma River cruiser captain

Jerry Lojka spent 29 years with the Midwest City Fire Department, and he intends to spend his golden years captaining a boat on the Oklahoma River.
by Matt Patterson Published: March 1, 2012

Jerry Lojka is proof that timing is everything in life.

Lojka spent 29 years with the Midwest City Fire Department, handling the department's investigations, community outreach and media duties.

When he decided to retire, the 55-year-old was far from ready to spend his remaining days sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch. And as luck would have it, he didn't have to.

Lojka is now a captain on The Devon Explorer, an Oklahoma River Cruises sightseeing and ferryboat that sails the Oklahoma River. He had served as a deck hand and pilot on one of the boats before his retirement. When the season begins in April, he will be a full-time captain.

“It's so totally different than emergency services,” he said. “We're dealing with people who are here to enjoy themselves out on the water and see the sights.”

Being on the water is nothing new for Lojka, who grew up in Utah and as a Boy Scout fell in love with sailing. He taught sailing for years on Lake Thunderbird and frequents Lake Murray in south central Oklahoma. He rowed on the Oklahoma River long before it became the destination it is today.

“People ask where do you sail in Oklahoma, but the truth is there are a lot of fantastic places to sail here,” Lojka said.

The city owns the three boats operated by Hornblower Marine, a company that operates boats around the world. Cruises can be up to 90 minutes one way if a passenger rides all the way to Exchange Avenue Landing. Tickets start at $6 one-way for adults.

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by Matt Patterson
Matt Patterson has been with The Oklahoman since 2006. Prior to joining the news staff in 2010, Patterson worked in The Oklahoman's sports department for five years. He previously worked at The Lawton Constitution and The Edmond Sun....
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