Doumeng and two of his pals from the University of Miami, Mark Anspach and Kappes Chatfield, are giving tanks. No, that's not a typo. They've created a company, Give Tanks, putting happy-faced little caricatures of things like turtles, waves, fruit and boats on tank tops and other clothing that bear the words "Give Tanks." It's all part of what Doumeng said is their Give Tanks Movement, to make people smile and earn some cash for the needy.
The trio started selling the line last December, pledging to give at least 25 percent of the profits to charitable causes. Chatfield had been to Nicaragua the summer before, working in the village of Ciudad Sandino to help renovate a school, and proposed the friends make that their first charitable cause. They've sold enough Give Tanks gear so far to bring a check to the school for about $2,500, which will help pay for school supplies and uniforms. To see a video of young businessmen talking about their endeavor, and check out their product line, visit www.give-tanks.com. You can follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BeTankful
Doumeng, whose dad is Richard Doumeng, managing director of Bolongo Bay and recently named president of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, is a poised young man who grew up on St. Thomas, a laid-back lanky lad who tried one day to teach me paddle boarding, part of the included activities at the resort. He is a master of the sport but try as he might, he couldn't create any level of proficiency in me. I repeatedly stood up, paddled a few feet and flopped helplessly into the Caribbean, with Mikael laughing and offering supportive statements like "No worries, do what you can."
So I did. I straddled the paddle board and headed to the pool bar for a Painkiller. OK, two. And I was sure to give tanks for the opportunity.