Having been an avid boater for more than 60 years, Jim O’Hare has always been impressed by the young Coast Guard men and women he has met on the water and in the community. This appreciation led Jim to begin donating to the Coast Guard Foundation and eventually becoming a trustee in 2002.
“I’ve seen them go out in all sorts of weather to help boats up and down the Atlantic Coast, and seen how pleasant and professional these young people are," said Jim. “I wanted to support them.”
Jim has a special affinity for the Coast Guard Foundation’s work to provide exercise, sports and outdoor recreation equipment to Coast Guard crews nationwide so members remain physical fit and mission-focused.
“Ninety percent of my effort is going toward helping the guys who are underpaid and overworked, and who wear the blue shirts, to help these young people in their careers," said Jim. “It is very exciting to see their training and what they go through from boot camp in Cape May to boat crew training at Yorktown, and how they become so good at so many tasks.”
A successful entrepreneur and leader who built many successful businesses in his career, Jim is impressed by the leadership he sees in the Coast Guard and the close relationships that supervisors forge with crew members. From the admirals that lead the service, to the chiefs that lead small units, to the boat crews on the water, Jim believes the Coast Guard culture is special. “The Coast Guard is such a complete unit," he said.” “I love seeing how much they all get along with each other.”
Jim is known as a formidable Foundation fundraiser having achieved more than two million dollars in donations and estate gifts over the years. He works tirelessly to encourage others to help the Foundation raise awareness of the needs of many small Coast Guard units up and down the coast, as well as bring new donors to the cause. He sees this as an important responsibility of the Coast Guard Foundation’s trustees and directors and is proud of the board members he has brought to the foundation over the years.
Jim is also thankful for the boaters he introduces to the Coast Guard Foundation, who then become donors. “I believe you should give back to the causes that you take part in," he said. “It is very important to take care of the people who take care of you.”
Building a Strong Foundation is a news series that highlights some of the generous people who support the Coast Guard Foundation.