Event Recap // Oct 31, 2017

Recap of the 37th Annual Salute to the Coast Guard

  • Jean Brown

The 37th Annual Salute to the Coast Guard was held on October 5, 2017 in New York City, to honor Coast Guard heroics from around the country. The evening honored BM1 Walter Kendall of Coast Guard Station Erie and Coast Guard Auxiliarists Robert & Patti Brody of Coast Guard Station Rochester who received the Foundation’s National Award for Heroism.

BM1 Kendall rescued six people trapped inside a sinking 27-foot boat on Presque Isle Bay in Pennsylvania. Coast Guard Station Erie’s CG-45757 crew responded to the report and during the rescue, two people became trapped inside the cabin.

BM1 Kendall leaped from the bow of the CG-45757 swimming to the nearly submerged vessel and successfully rescued the first of the trapped individuals. Aware that the other person was still inside the vessel without means of escape, he heroically saved her life by reaching inside the vessel’s starboard side window, bracing against the hull, and pulling her through with only seconds to spare before the boat sank.

“To the Coast Guard Foundation, thank you,” said BM1 Kendall receiving his award. “I would also like to thank Coast Guard Station Erie, Coast Guard Sector Buffalo, and most importantly to the crew of the CG-45757 - without them, six lives would not have been saved on July 23, 2016.

“I was just a part of the puzzle that day; I did what I thought was right, I did my job, and there was no way I was going to stand there and watch somebody perish in front of me.”

Coast Guard Auxiliarists Robert and Patti Brody were awarded for their brave actions on July 4, 2016, in the rescue of a boat crew on Irondequoit Bay where they saved seven lives.

While on patrol, they noticed a 34-foot Sea Ray vessel turn around unexpectedly in front of other traffic with its crew frantically waving their arms and yelling that they had lost all power and had caught fire. The Auxiliarists quickly transferred the three children and four adults to their vessel and radioed to Coast Guard Station Rochester to request emergency assistance from the local fire department and sheriff’s office.

“We feel it an honor to be able to help our country, Station Rochester, and the Coast Guard. They are the nicest bunch of people to work with, and I want to thank you all for supporting the Coast Guard Foundation,” said Robert Brody, accepting the award.

The event also honored President & CEO of Bollinger Shipyards Benjamin G. Bordelon for his long-time support, and saluted the Coast Guard Auxiliary for its dedicated and indispensable role as part of Team Coast Guard.

ESPN anchor Lindsay Czarniak served as the event’s MC with the evening’s keynote address from Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard Admiral Charles D. Michel.

The evening acknowledged the ongoing response and rescue efforts of the Coast Guard during the historic hurricane activity in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean.

“During these back to back surges, thousands of our members and their families were evacuated and hundreds suffered crushing losses, sometimes total losses - but these same men and women continued to serve putting service before self,” said Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard ADM Michel. “This is where the Coast Guard Foundation comes in, already in these events the Foundation has given over $475,000 to Coast Guard families in need.”

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