Recap of the 2016 Tribute to the Eighth Coast Guard District
On March 4, the first Coast Guard Foundation tribute of 2016 took place at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans to celebrate today’s Coast Guard heroes in America's Heartland.
The Coast Guard Foundation Award went to Sector Mobile for their extraordinary teamwork when a tropical force storm hit Mobile Bay and the Mississippi Sound in April 2015.
Sector Mobile rescued 40 people and saved $8.9 million in property over the course of their six day search and rescue operation.
Captain Joe Snowden spoke on behalf of Sector Mobile and acknowledged the effort and teamwork of the service, mentioning the district estimates 700 people were involved in responding to the tragic events that unfolded that day.
“There were a lot of great people involved in this, those who gave comfort not only to the survivors and the rescued, but to the families of the missing,” said Capt Snowden. “These are the folks we had to tell go home and try to get some rest after working nonstop for 24 hours but none of them wanted to quit.”
He added: “They do what all Coast Guardsmen do: turn into the seas and throttle forward no matter what the challenge in order to save others.”
Commandant of the Coast Guard Admiral Paul Zunkuft, who was the evening’s keynote speaker, described Sector Mobile’s actions as “truly heroic”.
“Our folks at Sector Mobile and all of those supporting elements could not have acquitted themselves any better than they did,” said Admiral Zunkuft.
Admiral Zukunft also spoke about the Coast Guard Foundation’s impact on the service and thanked the Foundation for the support it provides to service members and their families, mentioning the Foundation’s recent support of SK2 Jennifer Smith who was attacked while vacationing in San Pedro, Belize.
The Coast Guard Foundation provides that added measure that really makes a tremendous difference in our people’s lives,” said Admiral Zunkuft. “So when I look at the challenges ahead of how to recruit and retain this workforce, it’s our Foundation that helps me get to that finish line.
Special guests joining us at the event included Vice Commandant of the United States Coast Guard, Vice Admiral Charles Michel; Commander of the Eighth Coast Guard District, Rear Admiral Dave Callahan; and the District Eight Enlisted Person of the Year, BM2 Paul Jacob, and Reserve Enlisted Person of the Year BM1 Michael Lind.
Coast Guard Foundation director Nicki Candies, who has led the organizing efforts for the event for the past 23 years, stepped up to the podium and served as MC for the first time.
During the event’s raise the paddle, more than $80,000 was raised for scholarships and grants for Coast Guard members and their families to help pay for Coast Guard kids, enlisted members and their spouses to pursue a higher education.