The Coast Guard held a memorial service for one of its own fallen heroes, Petty Officer Travis Obendorf, on January 30 on Coast Guard Island in Alameda, California. Petty Officer Obendorf, of the Coast Guard Cutter WAESCHE, died in a Seattle hospital on December 18 as a result of injuries he sustained during search and rescue operations near Amak Island, Alaska.
The Coast Guard Foundation provided funding for the memorial service, and covered the travel expenses of five of Obendorf's shipmates, with whom he worked closely when he was stationed in Boston. The Foundation also paid for travel costs for Obendorf's extended family members who were not eligible for Coast Guard assistance.
Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Robert J. Papp spoke at Obendorf's memorial, reflecting on the sacrifices made by those who serve, and those who provide support and comfort in their time of need.
"I am gratified to look out today and see so many members of our Coast Guard family... Active Duty, Reserve, Auxiliary, and civilian. The extended family of the Coast Guard that is represented by our Department of Homeland Security and the various components; our friends
from local, state and federal law enforcement; the Coast Guard Foundation, who supports us so
well; and the Navy League; and all of the others that are gathered here with us today to honor to our fallen shipmate. We are honored that you have joined us this afternoon," said Admiral Papp.
Coast Guard Foundation board members Leo Paul Koulos and Joseph Phair represented the Foundation at the memorial service. Mr. Phair shared his thoughts on the memorial:
"This was the Coast Guard at its finest. I'm proud that the Coast Guard Foundation could be a part of this very moving event for our fallen shipmate. The service came off without a hitch and I'm sure to everyone it just looked easy, but I know how much care, planning and personal effort was involved in the event to pay tribute to such a fine young man. "