Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: Coast Guard Headquarters holiday volunteers

Written by Chaplain Jonathan Alexander, Lt.

Volunteers from Coast Guard Headquarters pose for a group shot after preparing 204 gift bags at a Gift Drive Packing Party for local communities in Washington, D.C., Dec. 13, 2017. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Volunteers from Coast Guard Headquarters pose for a group shot after preparing 204 gift bags at a Gift Drive Packing Party for local communities in Washington, D.C., Dec. 12, 2017. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

It was a cold December morning as a team of volunteers loaded a truck filled with over 200 gifts for several local communities in Washington, D.C. The gifts were provided by generous contributions to the 2017 Coast Guard Headquarters Holiday Adopt-a-Teen Gift Bag Drive.

“We intentionally focused the gift drive on teenagers who are often overlooked during holiday generosity campaigns,” said Base National Capital Region Chaplain Jonathan Alexander, project officer for the gift drive. “We want to show our local community that the U.S. Coast Guard and Coast Guard Headquarters cares about them and our neighborhood. We also want to cultivate the character value of generosity. It’s been said, ‘Your greatness is not what you have. It is what you give.’”

Personnel from Coast Guard Headquarters donate gifts and supplies of over 200 gift bags to be distributed to local teens in the Washington, D.C. area, Dec. 12, 2017. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Personnel from Coast Guard Headquarters donate gifts and supplies of over 200 gift bags to be distributed to local teens in the Washington, D.C. area, Dec. 12, 2017. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Headquarters personnel were asked to donate gift bags for teen boys and girls, filled with gift cards and electronic items such as headphones and portable chargers. Numerous individuals and teams, including those from the Coast Guard Officers Association, contributed cash donations for the drive. In the final tally, the results were amazing — 204 gift bags, a 25 percent increase from last year. Additionally, 40 volunteers helped prepare the gift bags and delivered them to the local community.

“This year’s Adopt-a-Teen gift drive was a great success,” said Rear Adm. Matthew Bell, commander of the Coast Guard Personnel Service Center and executive sponsor for the drive. “The generosity and kindness displayed by our donors is incredibly heartwarming! My faith in humanity is always reignited around the holidays.”

Personnel from Coast Guard Headquarters donate gifts and supplies of over 200 gift bags to be distributed to local teens in the Washington, D.C. area, Dec. 12, 2017. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Personnel from Coast Guard Headquarters donate gifts and supplies of over 200 gift bags to be distributed to local teens in the Washington, D.C. area, Dec. 12, 2017. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

The Coast Guard Headquarters has a positive history of engaging the surrounding community. One important partnership has been with the District of Columbia Housing Authority Office, who provides affordable housing to low-income residents. With the overwhelming response for the holiday drive, gift bags were delivered to four local D.C. Housing Authority communities.

“On behalf of my colleagues and the Housing Authority residents, we would like to say ‘Thank you’ to the U.S. Coast Guard,” said Office of Resident Services Ron Friday. “Your generous gifts will help make the holidays that much better for our families.”

Programs like the Holiday Adopt-a-Teen Gift Drive highlight the Coast Guard’s values of honor, respect, and devotion to duty. At our core, we are an organization that cares for and serves people. Once again, we demonstrated who we truly are and what matters most to us. Semper Paratus!

Volunteers from Coast Guard Headquarters deliver 204 gifts to the D.C. Housing Authority to be distributed to teens in four local communities, Dec. 14, 2017. Front row (left to right): Semadra Watson, Barry Farm Community Manager; Petty Officer 3rd Class Ayanna Anthony; Chief Petty Officer Megann Driver; Chief Petty Officer Melinda Skinner; Chaplain Jonathan Alexander, Chaplain Base National Capital Region. Back row (left to right): Ron Friday, Office of Resident Services; Capt. Andrew Eriks. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Volunteers from Coast Guard Headquarters deliver 204 gifts to the D.C. Housing Authority to be distributed to teens in four local communities, Dec. 14, 2017. Front row (left to right): Semadra Watson, Barry Farm Community Manager; Petty Officer 3rd Class Ayanna Anthony; Chief Petty Officer Megann Driver; Chief Petty Officer Melinda Skinner; Chaplain Jonathan Alexander, Chaplain Base National Capital Region. Back row (left to right): Ron Friday, Office of Resident Services; Capt. Andrew Eriks. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Do you know someone who embodies the Coast Guard Core Values of Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty? Please submit your nominations using the by emailing the Social Media team.

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