The Coast Guard Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to the education, welfare and morale of all Coast Guard members and their families, announced a fundraising drive for its emergency Family Disaster Relief Fund in response to the Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter crash off the coast of La Push, Washington this past Wednesday, July 7th, that claimed the lives of three servicemen. The crewmembers of CG-6017 were based at Air Station Sitka, Alaska.
The Coast Guard Foundation is seeking financial support for the Family Disaster Relief Fund. This fund provides immediate assistance to the families of the fallen crewmembers as they deal with this tragedy, and will provide comfort for other Coast Guard families who find themselves in similar devastating circumstances. The Coast Guard Foundation also seeks support for the Fallen Heroes Scholarship Fund, which provides college scholarships for the children of Coast Guard members who perish in the line of duty. Six children lost their fathers in this tragedy and the Foundation will provide scholarship funds to each one to assist with higher education expenses.
The Coast Guard has identified the lost personnel as Lt. Sean D. Krueger of Seymour, Connecticut, pilot, age 33; AMT1 Adam C. Hoke of Great Falls, Montana, flight mechanic, age 40; and AMT2 Brett M. Banks of Rock Springs, Wyoming, flight mechanic, age 33. The only survivor of the crash, Lt. Lance D. Leone of Ventura, California, co-pilot, age 29, is recovering from injuries.
The Coast Guard Foundation is working with Coast Guard headquarters and its Seventeenth District to identify the needs of the families and how it can best provide assistance in response to this tragedy. Additional support to the Coast Guard community will be provided in the form of a memorial service on Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at Air Station Sitka, where 1,500 people are expected to gather to show their respect.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the crew, their families and the entire Coast Guard,” said Anne Brengle, president of the Coast Guard Foundation. “At this time of great tragedy, we are reminded that the Coast Guard is a big family and when disaster strikes, we all come together to support one another. By extension, the Coast Guard Foundation and its donors are a part of that family. Your support is needed now to help the families of these fallen heroes.”
The Coast Guard Foundation is poised to “rescue the rescuers” and provide relief for the families. The Family Disaster Relief Fund provides emergency assistance to families who lose a loved one in the line of duty. When tragedy struck Hawaii in 2008, and California in 2009, the Coast Guard Foundation answered the call and provided support to the loved ones of the Coast Guard members who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation. The Family Disaster Relief Fund will be there again for the families of CG-6017, who find themselves in this most difficult, life-altering position.
“We don’t yet know the details of why this accident happened; but we do know four guardians went out on a mission and did not all come back,” continued Ms. Brengle. “Every time they step onto a helicopter, a flight deck, a cutter or a small boat, there’s a risk. But they do it everyday to support and serve the individuals of this nation. We hope others will join us in supporting these heroes’ families through this difficult time.”
Those wishing to support the Family Disaster Relief Fund and the Fallen Heroes Scholarship Fund may visit the Coast Guard Foundation’s website at www.coastguardfoundation.org, call the Foundation at 860-535-0786 or fax a note to 860-535-0944. For more information on the Coast Guard Foundation and its many worthwhile scholarship and support initiatives, please visit the Coast Guard Foundation website www.coastguardfoundation.org.