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38th Annual Salute to the U.S. Coast Guard Awardee Announced

October 1, 2018

The 38th Annual Salute to the United States Coast Guard in New York City on Thursday, October 4, 2018 will honor Petty Officer Samuel Knoeppel for his heroism following Hurricane Harvey in September 2017.

Petty Officer Knoeppel served as a rescue swimmer at Coast Guard Air Station Miami, Florida. In response to the devastation caused by the storm in August 2017, Petty Officer Knoeppel immediately volunteered to reposition to Houston, Texas to assist with search and rescue efforts. Notably, on August 28, Petty Officer Knoeppel deployed from a helicopter in a 150-foot hover to rescue 27 people from chest deep floodwaters, including young children, elderly citizens and a pregnant woman.

The following day, he coordinated two complex hospital-to-hospital transfers of patients in dire need of critical care. In both instances he selflessly placed himself in high-risk environments to physically carry patients on a litter to a suitable landing site for helicopter pickup. For the duration of both flights, he performed lifesaving first aid to the patients who were unconscious and not able to breathe unassisted.

With the helicopter unable to land at the receiving hospital, Petty Officer Knoeppel again carried both patients 150 yards through ankle deep mud to awaiting emergency medical teams.

The Coast Guard Foundation will also recognize International Matex Tank Terminals, a company who has long supported the Foundation’s Scholarship Program, Disaster Relief Fund, special projects at bases and the sailing program at the United States Coast Guard Academy.

The United States Coast Guard Band will perform at the event, as will the United States Coast Guard Academy Glee Club. Admiral Karl Schultz, commandant and Admiral Charles Ray, vice-commandant of the Coast Guard, will attend. Admiral Schultz will deliver keynote remarks. Dinner Co-chairs are Brendan J. Bouchard, Bouchard Transportation and Brian Buckley McAllister, McAllister Towing.

The evening will continue on the tradition of paying tribute to outstanding members of the Coast Guard who have selflessly risked their lives to save others. Hurricane Harvey produced more precipitation than any other tropical cyclone in U.S. history and brought widespread flooding across 28,000 square miles.

“The brave men and women of the Coast Guard, exemplified by Petty Officer Knoeppel, are the very definition of selflessness. We are continually humbled by the sacrifices made by them on a daily basis. We hope that by honoring just a handful every year, that we are able to honor them all.”

- Susan Ludwig, president, Coast Guard Foundation

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