Guardian of the Week – Auxiliary Commodore Nicholas Kerigan

Commodore Kerigan and Commodore Vass

Outgoing Auxiliary National Commodore Nicholas Kerigan (left) and incoming Commodore Jim Vass (right). Coast Guard photo by PA2 Patrick Kelley.

Nicholas Kerigan served honorably as National Commodore of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, the all-volunteer force that continues to set the standard for the resiliency that is so necessary for our service. Kerigan’s commitment to the force resonated through every volunteer member as they forged ahead in keeping the nation’s waterways safer and more secure.

“I have had many great experiences,” said Kerigan reflecting on his two years leading America’s 31,000 auxiliarists. “But the most valuable for me are those occasions when I traveled to visit our districts and had the opportunity to hear directly from members regarding how we could make the changes to make their membership experience better.”

Kerigan’s term as Auxiliary Commodore coincided with a nationwide reorganization for the Auxiliary as well as an increase in membership across local chapters. In fact, during Kerigan’s term as Commodore over 8 million hours occurred in member activity in which they contributed to pivotal events in our service.

Auxiliary members deployed in the after hours of the earthquake in Haiti and revamped response efforts by creating an innovative system in finding those who needed help and where they were stranded. The highly skilled Auxiliary teams used various communication sources to pass information to command centers where rescuers were dispatched.

A team of auxiliary members volunteered to deploy to the northern reaches of the United States as they provided their expertise as part of Operation Arctic Crossroads. The auxiliary crews, with other humanitarian responders, visited Northern Alaskan villages over a period of 20 days and taught imperative boating safety and survival skills.

Commodore Kerigan is presented his plaque

Admiral Bob Papp, Commandant of the Coast Guard presents Commodore Kerigan a plaque in commemoration of his service to the Coast Guard Auxiliary at a ceremony last week. Coast Guard photo by PA2 Patrick Kelley.

Auxiliary members also served, and continue to serve, in a range of capacities that support Deepwater Horizon spill operations. Their efforts include over 5,000 hours of work to monitor the readiness of vessels participating in clean-up operations, checking deployed boom, supporting the area command center and augmenting public affairs.

“Commodore Kerigan has done an exceptional job as the Coast Guard Auxiliary National Commodore,” said Admiral Bob Papp, Commandant of the Coast Guard. “He has brilliantly guided this volunteer force in promoting recreational boating safety, enhancing the security of U.S. waters, and supporting disaster responses like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.”

Kerigan, a member of the Auxiliary since 1992, was busy leading from the top, but showed his constant dedication to all Auxiliary members by his wealth of qualifications. Kerigan maintained qualifications as coxswain, air observer, vessel examiner, instructor and a qualification examiner.

“The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is the finest organization of volunteers in the world,” said Kerigan. “Incoming auxiliarists have many choices in the types of programs they wish to participate and my advice to them is to choose the programs they find interesting, become proficient in that program and most importantly have fun.”

Do you know a Coastie that has done something great for the service, the missions or the public? Please submit your nominations for Guardian of the Week using the “Submit Ideas” link on the right.

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