More than a year after Hurricane Harvey made landfall and changed the lives of thousands of people in Texas, the Coast Guard Foundation brought more than 400 people together on November 1, 2018 to recognize and honor the Coast Guard heroes who stood up and responded to the devastation by rescuing more than 11,000 people; assessed and secured ports and waterways; and helped their communities rebuild and restore their homes, schools and businesses in the aftermath of the storm.
Chief Warrant Officer Christian Wilson was recognized for his coordination of the Emergency Operations Center that fielded, prioritized and deployed assets to rescue those in peril. Throughout the course of the event, the Galveston County emergency center fielded over 1,500 calls through the 911 system and organized the rescue of more than 3,000 local citizens. CWO Wilson personally managed over 600 of these cases and was responsible for the rescue of more than 2,400 lives.
“This evening’s celebration is a demonstration of the ties that bind between the citizens of this Nation and the young men and women, the finest sons and daughters of America, who raise their right hands and swear to protect and defend you… These events demonstrate that we are all connected and that what they do is important to the Nation, and important to all of you here tonight.”
A team from Marine Safety Unit Texas City -- LT Lindsay Cook, LT Brad Bryan, LTJG Gregory Velliky and LTJG James Gardner -- was recognized for its work in coordinating the medical care for 33 children in need of life-saving dialysis in the days after the hurricane, when the city and its surrounding areas were impassable.
This highly complicated evacuation was made possible through the coordinated efforts of the team, who organized parents, Texas Children’s Hospital, multiple local county emergency operations centers, and air assets from the Coast Guard, U.S. Air Force and State of Texas. Through this massive effort, all 33 children’s lives were saved.
Dr. Brent Kaziny, Medical Director of Emergency Management and Helen Currier, RN, Director of Renal and Pheresis Services, Texas Children's Hospital, were in attendance and recognized for their critical work in coordinating and delivering the important medical care to the children in need.
Chevron CEO Mike Worth was presented with the Coast Guard Foundation’s Guardian Award, for their commitment and support of the Coast Guard Foundation for more than thirty years.
“I’m honored to be here tonight to accept this award on behalf of 50,000 Chevron employees around the world. I speak for them when I say ‘thank you’. Many heroes emerged during and after the storm, none more heroic than the brave men and women of the United States Coast Guard who selfless devotion to duty was fully on display. I cannot let this opportunity pass without saying ‘thank you’ to everyone in this room who stood the watch during and after the storm… we are in your debt.”
Admiral Karl Schultz, Coast Guard Commandant, was the Atlantic Area Commander during the 2017 hurricane season, and was on-scene following the storm to help direct and support storm response and relief. He saw first-hand the devastation throughout the city and surrounding towns and cities.
“It’s great to be back in Houston, a city that personifies American resilience, optimism, and determination. To the Coast Guard Foundation… your commitment to the well-being of the Coast Guardsmen and women and their families is nothing short of remarkable.”
Other program highlights include:
- The evening was hosted by former NFL running back Reggie Rivers, who shared his appreciation for the Coast Guard and its service to our Nation.
- Remarks and thanks extended by Coast Guard Foundation board chairman and Houston resident, Will Jenkins, and Coast Guard Foundation Senior Vice President, Brad Sisley.
- An acknowledgement of all event sponsors, including Chevron, and Defender Level sponsors American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, Kirby Corporation and SeaRiver Maritime.
- A note of thanks to Houston event committee members who volunteer their time to coordinate the event and secure sponsorships, led by Coast Guard Foundation Director, Judith Roos.
- Presentation of colors by the Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston Color Guard.
- National Anthem and Military Service Medley, performed by the United States Coast Guard Band Brass Quintet.