Recap of the 38th Annual Salute to the U.S. Coast Guard
Five hundred plus gathered in New York City on October 4 to pay tribute to United States Coast Guard, and their heroism and bravery, in particular in the face of great danger.
The New York event, in its 38th year, is the Coast Guard Foundation’s longest-standing salute.
AST2 Sam Knoeppel, USCG, a rescue swimmer, was honored for his bravery and mission excellence during the 2017 hurricane season, in particular, his actions during Hurricane Harvey, when he was deployed to the Houston-area from Coast Guard Air Station Miami in Florida.
In response to the devastation caused by the storm Petty Officer Knoeppel immediately volunteered to reposition to Houston, Texas to assist with search and rescue efforts. Notably, on August 28, Petty Officer Knoeppel deployed from a helicopter in a 150-foot hover to rescue 27 people from chest deep floodwaters, including young children, elderly citizens and a pregnant woman. The following day, he coordinated two complex hospital-to-hospital transfers of patients in dire need of critical care. In both instances the Petty Officer selflessly placed himself in high-risk environments to physically carry patients on a litter to a suitable landing site for helicopter pickup. For the duration of both flights, he performed lifesaving first aid to the patients who were unconscious and not able to breathe unassisted. With the helicopter unable to land at the receiving hospital, Petty Officer Knoeppel again carried both patients 150 yards through ankle deep mud to awaiting emergency medical teams.
Petty Officer Knoeppel, now stationed in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, proved his skills and training were in demand once again this year when he responded to the hurricane that hit the Carolinas and Georgia. Once again, Petty Officer Knoeppel served bravely and honorably and assisted many residents of the impacted region.
The Coast Guard Foundation Salute also served as an opportunity to thank Coast Guard members and families for their service, and extend a thoughtful appreciation to Coast Guard Foundation supporters who make the organization’s programs and projects possible.
Keynote remarks from Coast Guard commandant Admiral Karl Schultz acknowledged the strong impact that Coast Guard Foundation support has on the service and its people.
“Our men and women, they save lives, they protect the environment, they secure the homeland, they project our nation’s sovereignty at far off places like the arctic… they do so often without praise or recognition. But the Foundation, they draw attention to this, they spotlight it, and for that, we are very appreciative…there is one thing I can assure you…your dollars will be purposeful, they will be impactful, and they will go to men and women who will benefit from that effort."
Other event highlights:
- The United States Coast Guard Band and the Coast Guard Academy Glee Club performed the National Anthem, a selection of patriotic songs and the service medley.
- International Matex Tank Terminals was recognized for its many years of support for the Coast Guard Foundation work, across scholarships, disaster relief and response, projects at Coast Guard bases around the country and the sailing program at the United States Coast Guard Academy. Mr. Rick Courtney, Chief Executive Officer and President, accepted the honor on behalf of IMTT, its employees and the Coleman family.
- The Coast Guard Auxiliary and Bouchard Transportation were recognized as the event’s top sponsors. Commodore Larry King, head of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, accepted its organizations accolades and shared details on their support of the Coast Guard’s mission and people. Brendan Bouchard was recognized for his company’s long-standing support of the Coast Guard Foundation.
In showing gratitude for all of the evening’s sponsors, Coast Guard Foundation president Susan Ludwig remarked, “Thank you all for your unwavering support of the CGF. As a group of generous and like-minded individuals, we are positively impacting the welfare and personal resiliency of the men, women and children of the United States Coast Guard.”