We set out to select fifty projects to represent fifty years of our history, but it was too difficult to narrow it down to that number. So instead, you'll see slightly more than that. Click through the photos below to view Coast Guard Foundation project photos over the last five decades.
To view to full slideshow with captions please click here.
To start, it’s fun to see the photos from the earliest years that capture the organization’s strength and determination to leave a mark at the Coast Guard Academy. Projects like the Academy’s Visitors Center, Robert Crown Park and the Crew Boathouse, are emblematic of the work done in the first decade of the Academy Foundation. There were other investments too, like a fleet of vans to transport cadets around town, and new sailboats to support the Academy’s waterfront program, that illustrate our founders’ commitment to margin of excellence initiatives.
In the first few years, property was purchased in Stonington and plans were drawn up to transform the 235-acre Highland Farm into a Cadet Outdoor Education Center. Shipmate Lodge was built for cadets to use in their off-duty time, and the Foundation’s small staff set up its offices in the farmhouse. A caretaker home was built on the property to provide around the clock security and upkeep.
Over time, the Foundation expanded its mission to support the entire United States Coast Guard, and that presented new opportunities for remote units and bases, as well as larger Coast Guard installations that had a number of Coast Guard members and families to support.
Early projects provided upgrades to daycare facilities in stations around the country. Lodging for Coast Guard families awaiting permanent housing was built on Governor’s Island in New York. On Sand Island, Hawaii, Coast Guard members living on ships were able to combat loneliness at a drop-in center supported by Foundation donations and staffed with counselors ready to listen, if needed.
A new building was constructed on Coast Guard-owned Dauphin Island, to answer the call for improved indoor bathing, recreation and meeting areas. Sadly, this area was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Thumbing through these pictures, you can see swimming pools, community centers, tennis and basketball courts, playgrounds, and so much more. We have set-up computer learning centers, television and entertainment centers, treadmills and elliptical machines, functional fitness equipment, free-weights and benches, and many, many, mountain bikes. We’ve provided care packages, established morale funds for new units and cutters, and supported holiday parties and Coast Guard day celebrations.
Over the last five years or so, we’ve supported 100+ morale and wellness projects each year. Sometimes, it’s fitness and recreation gear so Coast Guard members and families can enjoy the natural beauty of the community they live in while stationed at a remote unit. Other times, it’s a bigger capital investment that brings together Coast Guard members and families who may live further away from the duty station, but feel the pull to create a community together around their shared Coast Guard experiences. In both cases, Coast Guard Foundation support adds to the operational readiness of those who wear the uniform by providing care and resources for the entire Coast Guard family.
Why are these projects an important part of the Coast Guard Foundation’s mission since Day 1?
When we fund morale and wellness projects, we are showing Coast Guard members and families that we value their service to our nation. When we invest in their well-being, we are living our mission to provide for the service above and beyond what can be provided by federal appropriations. We can acknowledge that they’ve done their jobs well and have served with honor, respect and devotion to duty. It’s a foundation that was set fifty years ago, and it’s a foundation that we continue to build upon as the needs of the service change and grow -- now, and into the future.