I had the good fortune to be invited to the 31st Annual Salute to the United States Coast Guard, and I will say this event stands apart from other New York City hotel-ballroom dinners. The nonprofit Coast Guard Foundation salutes the Coast Guard by singling out surfmen and cutter and helicopter crews for acts of bravery in keeping boaters, and pretty much anyone else who asks for help, safe. A helicopter crew from USCG Air Station Sitka, Alaska, and a USCG Station Tillamook Bay motor lifeboat crew received foundation Awards for Heroism for specific instances of valor—the tales are harrowing. And the crowd of nearly 700 dignitaries and guests looked on as a young Coast Guardsman, AST3 Thomas L. McArthur received the U.S. Coast Guard Silver Lifesaving Medal for saving 12 people from a dangerous rip current at a beach on Lake Michigan. He effected this rescue by himself—on his day off.
The foundation hosts this national dinner (and others like it honoring Coast Guard districts around the country) to raise money and awareness of its mission, which is to offer financial support for projects to enhance the education, welfare, and morale needs of Coast Guard members and their families. The honorees are all impressive young people who had family in tow, including spouses, their parents, and even one eight-month-old son, and the concept of family emerged as the evening’s theme, from the address given by the Coast Guard Commandant, Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr., on down. The Coast Guard Foundation supports the 42,000 men and women in service, and their families, and this helps everyone involved to do a better job. And because the Coast Guard does so much for boaters, it may be worth looking into seeing how you can help too. www.rescuetherescuers.org
Note: The Coast Guard March begins at 2:55 in the above video.