At our 21st Annual Tribute to the Coast Guard's Eighth District in New Orleans on March 14, the Coast Guard Foundation honored the commitment of seven Coast Guard spouses and the roles they play in keeping their Coast Guard families and communities strong.
We are thankful for the service of our Coast Guard members – everyday, they answer the call to help others and fulfill the mission of the United States Coast Guard. What sometimes flies under the radar is the support system in place for our service men and women, those people holding down the fort and taking care of family business while their significant others serve our country.
The Coast Guard Foundation is honored to shine a light on seven "super spouses" who day in and day out support their families and other Coast Guard families around them in important ways. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Robert J. Papp, and his wife, Linda, spoke during the dinner. In addition to Coast Guard spouses, Mr. Sean O'Keefe, Chairman and CEO of Airbus, Inc. and a long time Coast Guard Foundation supporter, was also honored during the evening's program.
Katie Quillen | Aviation Training Center Mobile | Mobile, Alabama
Katie, one of the ombudsmen at ATC Mobile, focuses her efforts on making sure new families feel welcome to the community, and are aware of the resources available to them. In addition to organizing events and activities for families throughout the year, Katie maintains a Facebook page called "ATC Mobile Families" as a resource for Coast Guard and families stationed in Mobile
Katie volunteers for Operation Homefront, and this past year collected thousands of dollars' worth of school supplies for military families; during the holiday season, she made sure that all the locally-donated toys were distributed to deserving Coast Guard children at the base Christmas party. She has also lent her expertise to the ATC Mobile Command in their efforts to establish a child development center for Coast Guard families in the community. Katie's husband is LT Gregory Quillen.
Katie Quillen and her family.
Sarah Terveen | Marine Safety Unit Huntington | Barboursville, West Virginia
Sarah, the ombudsman for MSU Huntington, has dedicated much of her time to helping incoming families feel welcome and transition to their new community. Her help comes in the form of helping families find the right housing and schools, and making connections among Coast Guard families with similar needs and resources to share.
Sarah coordinates morale events, including Halloween parties, Christmas parties and activities on Coast Guard Day and opens her home to members of the unit stationed away from their families during the holidays. Sarah's husband is MST2 Jay C. Terveen.
Sara Terveen with her husband MST2 Jay Terveen.
Cara Doerr | Coast Guard Cutter CYPRESS | Pensacola, Florida
Cara played a key role in making sure CYPRESS crew members and families were ready for unexpected deployments last year (Tropical Storm Karen and a natural gas rig explosion among them), when circumstances required the crew to get underway in a very short time and be gone for undetermined periods of time.
Cara's organization and quick response was especially important for the cutter's hurricane preparations, assisting with annual readiness training, and serving as the point of contact for evacuations, and personally advising families at the unit. Cara's husband is DC2 Robert James Doerr, Jr.
Carr Doerr and her husband Robert.
Sedonia Cheatham | Air Station New Orleans | New Orleans, Louisiana
Sedonia is ombudsman to 127 Coast Guard members and their families. Being stationed on the Gulf of Mexico, much like other spouses in the Coast Guard's 8th district, Sedonia was faced with the challenge of preparing families in how best to deal with hurricanes. Thanks to Sedonia, during Hurricane Isaac Karen, families were prepared and had the peace of mind knowing there was a plan in place.
In addition to these efforts, Sedonia organized a quarterly "Spouses Night Out" and the "Stroller Warrior Club" to build morale among those stationed in New Orleans. She is currently petitioning lawmakers to enact rules that would see colleges recognize more credit hours from other schools for military spouses, since Coast Guard families move around the country so often. Sedonia's husband is AMT2 Kevin Cheatham.
Sedonia Cheatham with her family.
Hallie Conger | Marine Safety Unit Port Arthur | Port Arthur, Texas
Despite the demands of motherhood and a full-time job, Hallie has devoted more than 200 hours of her own time to help the families of MSU Port Arthur. To facilitate communication among families there, she initiated an Ombudsman Newsletter; helping people stay informed and in touch with what was going on at the station.
In August 2013, despite having given birth to her first child the same week, Hallie led the "Back to School Brigade," which she used to collect school supplies for Coast Guard families. She outfitted over 70 of the unit's children with back to school essentials, as well as kids at other nearby units. Hallie's charitable efforts extended to the holiday season, thanks to a children's holiday party, she provided 50 kids with personalized gifts, crafts and music. Hallie's husband is MST3 Benjamin Conger.
Hallie Conger with her husband Ben and her daughter, Quinn.
Sofia Stitz | Marine Safety Detachment Quad Cities | Rock Island, Illinois
In late November 2013, a towboat carrying more than 90,000 gallons of oil product sunk while traveling in the upper Mississippi River, prompting a massive Coast Guard response, including personnel from Marine Safety Detachment Quad Cities, Sector Upper Mississippi River, the Gulf and Atlantic Strike Teams and more.
As the Thanksgiving holiday approached, Sofia realized that the Coast Guard personnel deployed to the environmental response would be away from their families for the holiday. Quickly jumping into action, Sofia, along with several other MSD Quad Cities spouses, planned a special Thanksgiving feast, six turkeys and all the fixings, for the more than 20 people deployed there. Sofia's actions reflect the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, and her efforts were truly appreciated by the crew. Sofia's husband is LT Kody J. Stitz, supervisor of MSD Quad Cities.
Sofia and Kody Stitz, and their four children.
Alma Buckley | Coast Guard Sector New Orleans | New Orleans, Louisiana
The Ombudsman of Sector New Orleans since 2012, Alma has implemented a great deal of organization and informative practices that have helped streamline things for spouses and families stationed there. Upon her arrival, she created the first-ever Ombudsman Newsletter for the sector, as well as volunteering to be the ombudsman for subunits at the sector that did not have representation prior to Alma's tenure.
She was a vital link between the command structure and dependents during Hurricane Isaac and Tropical Storm Karen, serving as a point of contact during evacuations, as well as helping those displaced by the storms safely return home. Alma was the Coast Guard Ombudsman of the Year in 2010. Alma's spouse is MKCS Daniel Buckley.
Alma Buckley and her husband MKCS Daniel Buckley.