The more than 500 attendees at the event also paid special tribute to crews from Coast Guard Air Stations New Orleans and Corpus Christi, Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile, the Coast Guard Cutter Jacob Paroo, and Coast Guard Station Venice who rescued three local men whose boat capsized in shark invested waters 25 miles offshore from Empire Louisiana in October 2022.
The rescue began when a family member reported the boaters were overdue from a fishing trip on Oct. 8, 2022. Search and rescue specialists from Coast Guard Sector New Orleans coordinated the launch of Coast Guard air and vessel crews to search an area spanning approximately 1,250 square miles.
During the search a Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane crew located all three boaters in the water.
A Coast Guard Station Venice 45-foot response boat crew arrived on scene and pulled two survivors from the water as the boaters were fending off sharks that had been circling them. A Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew hoisted the third survivor from the water.
The survivors were rushed by helicopter to University Medical Center New Orleans. They were treated for their injuries, which included shark bites, jelly fish stings, and hypothermia, and eventually released.
The annual event gathers leaders from the maritime, energy, financial, and defense industries along with Coast Guard officials and supporters for a patriotic evening in honor of the service and the region’s maritime heritage.
Commandant of the Coast Guard Admiral Linda Fagan delivered the keynote address, noting that “every day our crews do difficult work. They’re always ready to protect, to defend, to save, the people that we serve – the American public. Our Coast Guard families serve alongside them and the Foundation’s contributions to the wellbeing of families directly support our frontline operators in the workforce.”
Fagan concluded by saying, “there has never been a better time to be in the United States Coast Guard. We have never been a better return on investment for the American public… We will be your sentinels. Thank you for supporting us. Thank you to the Foundation for all you do.”
The Foundation is grateful to dinner sponsor Bollinger Shipyards, major sponsors Cheniere, Ingram Barge, Harvey Gulf International Marine, Hornbeck Offshore, and all those sponsoring and attending for their support. The evening raised more than $639,000 for Coast Guard Foundation programs in the region and nationwide. Since 1994 the event has raised more than $9 million for Foundation programs that support Coast Guard members.