I have had several friends ask me about my participation in the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. Why do I do it? What’s in it for me? To me I thought the answers to those questions were obvious. It all started just after the events of 9/11. I was sitting at home, then in Chicago, trying to figure out what I could do to help. As a former United States Marine I was furious and felt helpless. I considered the possibility of trying to go back to active duty but that was not realistic at that point in my life. I started to look at organizations on-line such as the Red Cross but they did not meet my needs. I then stumbled on to the Coast Guard Auxiliary. I ended up going to a meeting of one of the local Flotilla’s in Chicago. I found out that they perform duties more than just boating safety classes.
The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed, all-volunteer component of the United States Coast Guard. The Auxiliary was created by an Act of Congress in 1939, and has grown to over 32,000 members who daily support the Coast Guard in all its non-military, and non-law-enforcement missions. We have members and units in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Guam.
Auxiliary members conduct safety patrols on local waterways and assist in Search and Rescue with boats and aircraft, teach boating safety classes, conduct free vessel safety checks for the public, provide boating safety literature to dealers, as well as many other activities related to recreational boating safety.
Many of the members were former military. It felt like the right place to be to help my community and my country. Even though it is a civilian arm of the Coast Guard it has the same military structure and pride of belonging. I found a sense of belonging from the beginning so I decided this was what I needed to do. I am now with Flotilla 25, located on Lake Hartwell, SC and GA. I am currently the Flotilla Staff Officer for Public Affairs (FSO-PA) and a Admissions Partner for the United States Coast Guard Academy.
The bottom line is that I think we all have a calling in our lives and mine is to serve my community and country in anyway that I can which is why I choose to be a Police Officer and a member of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary.