Shipmate of the Week – Al Roker

Al Roker poses with a Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City crew in this January 2010 file photo. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Barbara L. Patton.

Al Roker poses with a Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City crew in this January 2010 file photo. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Barbara L. Patton.

He’s a bestselling author, nine-time Emmy winner, founder of a multimedia company, host of NBC’s Today and perhaps is the best-known weatherman in the world. He’s Al Roker. And despite his tremendous accomplishments we’d like to add one more to the list: Coast Guard supporter.

Roker has opened the eyes of many Americans to who the Coast Guard is as an organization through the TV show Coast Guard Alaska, produced by his company Al Roker Entertainment.

With the attention of more than 32 million TV viewers per week on Today, he shares a lot of stories from across our nation. So what compelled Roker to share the story of America’s Coast Guard? Honestly, YouTube.

Click the above image to see clips from season two of Coast Guard Alaska. Video courtesy of The Weather Channel.

Click the above image to see clips from season two of Coast Guard Alaska. Video courtesy of The Weather Channel.

“I’ve always known about the Coast Guard. However one day a couple years ago I was watching a video on YouTube about most amazing Coast Guard rescues,” said Roker. “I watched about an hour’s worth. It was then that I thought I wonder if there’s a show about the Coast Guard here?”

If you’ve ever seen a clip of a Coast Guard rescue, or an interdiction of a drug sub, you couldn’t blame him for watching an hour’s worth of video. The Coast Guard, as our nation’s maritime first responder, can go from performing a routine training flight to a search and rescue case in a matter of seconds. And so that’s how his quest to share the unique missions of the Coast Guard began.

But more than giving viewers a glimpse of the action Coast Guard men and women do day in and day out, Roker hopes to build an understanding and appreciation of all service members and the sacrifices they make.

“Anytime we can highlight the job that the men and women in uniform do in this country – and by uniform I mean any first responder, any member of our armed forces, anybody who serves and protects this country deserves the full support of everybody in this U.S. And so if our programming can bring a little bit more of a spotlight to what our service people do, then I am proud to do it,” said Roker.

Al Roker speaks with Coast Guard crewmembers at Air Station Clearwater about expectations and filming of Coast Guard Florida, a new documentary series by The Weather Channel and Al Roker Entertainment, March 20, 2012. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael De Nyse.

Al Roker speaks with Coast Guard crewmembers at Air Station Clearwater about expectations and filming of Coast Guard Florida, March 20, 2012. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael De Nyse.

Following the success of Coast Guard Alaska, Roker and his team set out to tell a different side of the Coast Guard. While Coast Guard Alaska featured mountainous terrain, freezing temperatures and places many Americans have never been, he thought it was time for some action from the Sunshine State.

Al Roker Entertainment is now in the filming stages for Coast Guard Florida. He hopes the audience will learn even more about what the Coast Guard does as operations and missions in Florida are drastically different from Alaska. Throughout the process he has learned a lot about these differences and even learned things about the Coast Guard he had never known.

“I think what I was most surprised about finding out about the mission of the Coast Guard is that there’s so much more to it than search and rescue,” said Roker. “Depending on where the Coast Guard station is it could be drug interdiction. It could be migration issues. It could be so much more. And I was really surprised to find out how international in scope the Coast Guard is as well.”

As Roker continues to showcase our service’s support to our nation, he has also grown to appreciate the men and women who perform the missions. Recently, Roker partnered with Coast Guard Mutual Assistance as their spokesman.

Click the above image to see a PSA with Al Roker for Coast Guard Mutual Assistance.

Click the above image to see a PSA with Al Roker for Coast Guard Mutual Assistance.

Coast Guard Mutual Assistance is a non-profit charitable organization established to provide financial aid to the entire Coast Guard family through interest-free loans, grants and financial counseling.

As a spokesman, Roker encourages others to contribute to Coast Guard Mutual assistance whose funds help service members in times of need.

“I feel that as a country we need to do more to make sure our service members of both active and retired are taken care of as they have taken care of this country,” said Roker. “So anything I can do in whatever small part to help make sure that the well-being and safety of the Coast Guard and their family is in some way helped by what I do, I am thrilled and honored to do it.”

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

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