Coast Guard Foundation to Honor ABS and Coast Guard Heroes

A crew from Station Tillamook Bay in Garibaldi, Oregon, was honored at the 2011 Coast Guard Foundation event. U.S. Coast Guard Photo: Daniel Goodrich

This October, the non-profit Coast Guard Foundation will recognize the work of the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) and U.S. Coast Guard personnel who have put their own lives in peril to save others, at its 32nd Annual Salute to the United States Coast Guard.

Founded in 1969, the Coast Guard Foundation supports projects enhancing the education, welfare, and moral of Coast Guard members and their families. It has provided education-oriented financial assistance to families of Coast Guard members who have died while on duty, for example. The Coast Guard Foundation has further given financial assistance to personnel and their families following natural disasters.

Its annual Salute, held in New York City, is the Coast Guard Foundation’s way of saying thanks to individuals who have gone above and beyond in their efforts. How? The following story about Petty Officer Thomas McArthur, an honoree from last year’s event, is a good example. A rescue swimmer based at a Lake Michigan Coast Guard station, McArthur saved 12 (yes, 12) people in one day from dangerous rip currents. He pulled children and adults alike from the water—some of whom had gone in to try to save family members, and others who could have drowned due to exhaustion from fighting the currents. (Three people at other points along Lake Michigan did drown that day.) He alerted the local Coast Guard to the water conditions once everyone was safely onshore. Unfortunately, none of the local police were available to further monitor the waters. McArthur, who happened to be off duty, decided to stay and warn visitors about the currents.

While the Coast Guard Foundation does not reveal the names of its service personnel being honored until the evening of the Salute, which will be October 11, it will pay special recognition to ABS and its chairman, Robert D. Somerville. ABS has supported the Coast Guard Foundation for more than 25 years. Under Somerville’s term, it has supported scholarships and the Coast Guard Academy sailing program, among other things.

Additional honors will be paid to The Weather Channel. The Weather Channel has two popular documentary-style series, Coast Guard Alaska and Coast Guard Florida. Al Roker, a host of The Weather Channel’s Wake Up With Al show and NBC’s Today show, will be the host of the overall Salute festivities.

Tickets are available to the general public via the Coast Guard Foundation website. You can also call its Benefit Office in New York City at (212) 245-6570 or its national headquarters in Connecticut at (860) 535-0786.

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