Shipmate of the Week – Coast Guard Foundation
Posted by LT Stephanie Young, Friday, May 18, 2012
When you are going through a tough time or need a little help there is always someone you can depend on, whether it be a relative, loved one, neighbor or friend. When a member of the Coast Guard is going through a tough time, they can find that support in the Coast Guard Foundation.
The Coast Guard Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of the men and women of the Coast Guard and their families. The Foundation provides education and support for Coast Guard men and women, helping out with college scholarships to dependents of enlisted members. The Foundation also funds recreational facilities, supporting morale programs at units across the nation.
While their support impacts daily life for countless service members and their families, perhaps where their work is most critical is when they are needed most, in times of tragedy. Through the Family Disaster Relief Fund the Foundation steps in to rescue the rescuers.
The Foundation first established the Family Disaster Relief Fund in 2008 after the crash of CG-6505 off the coast of Hawaii. The crash claimed the lives of four Coast Guardsmen, and the fund provided emergency assistance to the families of the aircrew to attend memorial services in Hawaii immediately following the incident, because traveling to Hawaii was difficult and financially burdensome.
The Foundation continues to draw on this fund to support and comfort other families affected by difficult, heart-wrenching situations affecting the service and its members.
In the wake of the CG-6535 tragedy, the Foundation raised funds for the Family Disaster Relief Fund as well as the Fallen Heroes Scholarship Fund, which provides college scholarships to children who lose a parent in the line of duty.
The Foundation funded the official memorial service for the crew in Mobile, and in addition to the main service, they provided funding for other smaller ceremonies for the individual crewmembers.
As the fund has developed, the foundation has expanded their support to go beyond helping immediate family members of those affected by these incidents to supporting members of the Coast Guard community at large. And while the foundation helps out the community, they in turn have produced an outpouring of support.
In Mobile alone, there have been countless volunteer efforts to support the families of the lost shipmates: a band of Coasties performed a benefit concert; a lacrosse league held a jamboree fundraiser; a local middle school collected donations; a restaurant group donated proceeds from a weekend sale and also extended a discount to Coast Guard families over the course of the promotion.
In short, the relief fund saves Coast Guard families when they need it the most. But at the end of the day, despite the fact they step in during times of great need, the Foundation remains humble and says that’s just the least they can do.
“The brave men and women of the Coast Guard give so much to our country that when they make the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty, supporting those affected by these tragedies is the least we can do,” said Anne Brengle, the foundation’s president. “The Coast Guard Foundation is instilled with the same core values as the Coast Guard itself. We take pride in our jobs, and are honored to serve the men and women who wear the uniform.”