First Responders - Soundings Online

First Responders

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As I write this, Hurricane Sally lurches ashore. Her winds are battering Alabama and Florida as the center moves over the Panhandle, putting places like Pensacola, Florida, largely underwater. The storm touches down just a few weeks after
Hurricane Laura made landfall in Texas and Louisiana, where some evacuees are still searching for places to live.

Among the people affected by these storms are members of the U.S. Coast Guard. I know this through the U.S. Coast Guard Foundation, a Connecticut-based nonprofit devoted to supporting service members and their families. When disasters like hurricanes strike, Coast Guard members are often first responders who leave their own loved ones and homes to aid others in distress. Through its relief and response program, the foundation funnels resources to Coasties to ensure they get what they need in exceptional circumstances. When these dedicated professionals know their families are being cared for, they can focus on serving and rebuilding communities in crisis.

After Hurricane Laura, the Coast Guard deployed more than 3,000 service members, 32 aircraft crews and 40 boat crews to flooded areas in Texas and Louisiana. The Foundation reports that the homes of many service members were destroyed, with a good deal of damage in the Lake Charles, Louisiana, region. The foundation will provide funds to help rebuild houses and assist families in their search for temporary places to live.

Money for this program—and a number of others managed by the foundation, including scholarships for children of service members—is typically collected through fundraisers. This year, however, the pandemic put the kibosh on efforts to coordinate in-person events. So, this fall, the foundation will host a virtual gala, the 16th Annual Tribute to the United States Coast Guard. It will stream live from Washington, D.C. on October 29 at 7 p.m. EST. If you’re near a screen that night, I encourage you to join the celebration and support the work of the foundation, and the efforts of the Coast Guard. The Coasties are there for us when we need them. Let’s be present for them, too.

Jeanne Craig
JCraig@aimmedia.com

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