Foundation Comes to Rescue of Coast Guard

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin (11/28/98)
By Ray Pendleton

Who ya gonna call? That was the now worn out question from the old hit movie Ghost Busters that, if answered by the boaters of Hawai`i, would be, "the Coast Guard."

No matter what your problem is, anytime you are offshore, the United States Coast Guard, with its motto, Sem Paratus - Always Ready - is there to help.

But who ya gonna call if you are the Coast Guard? To whom does an emergency responder turn to when it needs help?

When it comes to help with support for the education, morale, and welfare of the Coast Guard's personnel and families, for nearly 30 years it has been able to turn to a small but dedicated organization called the Coast Guard Foundation.

With its roots firmly planted in the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, the Foundation has branched out to provide assistance everywhere Coast Guard personnel serve, including Hawai`i.

Such assistance, with projects and programs numbering in the hundreds, has enriched the educational experience of the Coast Guard cadets by adding books to their library, sponsoring award programs and scholarships for academic excellence, and bringing to the Academy such noted speakers as William F. Buckley, Jr., President Jimmy Carter, author Tom Clancy and Chief Justice Warren Burger.

Other Foundation-sponsored projects at the Academy include: funding the Minority Introduction to Engineering Program, geared toward gifted minority high school students with engineering and Academy potential, providing team sports equipment and travel expenses, funding a variety of campus social events, and even funding support for the Academy's sailing and varsity coaches' salaries.

Away from the Academy, the Coast Guard Foundation provides funding for such projects as on-base social and recreational centers, educational materials, such as books, video players and tapes, and playground equipment for children living in military housing.

The Coast Guard's new recreational center created for the 2,500 men and women, and their families, stationed in the challenging environment of Kodiak, Alaska, is a prime example of the Foundation's good work.

In Hawai`i, the Foundation's eleven local directors - seven of which are national directors as well - have taken on numerous projects in support of the personnel and families stationed here and throughout the Pacific.

Since 1993, they have sponsored an annual dinner to recognize the efforts of the Coast Guard Ombudsmen, those persons - primarily wives of enlisted personnel - who volunteer to act as representatives of commanding officers, have direct access to them, and attempt to resolve service-related problems arising among dependent families.

The Hawai`i Chapter has also created recreational opportunities for the extended Coast Guard family by providing parks, swimming pools and sailing programs. It is currently campaigning for funds to landscape the Coast Guard's presently barren site on Guam and to establish a recreational park near the military housing at Red Hill on Oahu. Should you wish to offer help to those helping the Coast Guard ohana, contributions may be sent to the Coast Guard Foundation, C/O Capt. John Mihlbauer, 965-A2 Nimitz Highway, Honolulu HI 96817. More information regarding the Hawai`i Chapter may also be had by calling Capt. Mihlbauer at (808) 538-3260.

Last week's Column -|- More Water Ways

Hele On