Coast Guard Foundation Hosts Guardian of the Heartlands Awards

Wednesday, April 06, 2011
Donald T. Bollinger, a member of the Coast Guard Foundation board of trustees, speaks at the Guardian of the Heartland Dinner here, April 9, 2010. The Foundation Dinner was attended by close to 600 people, some of whom included Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen, Atlantic Area Commander Vice Adm. Robert Papp and Master Chief Petty of the Coast Guard Charles ÒSkipÓ Bowen. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Casey J. Ranel.

The Coast Guard Foundation, a non-profit organization, announced that its Annual Tribute to the United States Coast Guard (USCG) Eighth District, The Guardian of the Heartland Dinner, will take place on Friday, April 15, 2011. The event will honor several aircrews from Air Station New Orleans, and Aviation Training Center Mobile for their actions during the explosion and fire aboard the Deepwater Horizon on April 20, 2010.

Coast Guard efforts included evacuating the most critically injured rig workers from the Damon Bankston, a Good Samaritan vessel that was nearby when the explosion first occurred, to hospitals and medical facilities where members treated survivors with compound fractures, lacerations, and second and third degree burns.
The Eighth Coast Guard District, headquartered in New Orleans, spans 26 states throughout the Gulf Coast and the heartland of America from the Appalachian Mountains and Chattahoochee River in the East, to the Rocky Mountains in the West, the US/Mexican border and the Gulf of Mexico in the South, and the North Dakota/Canadian border in the North.
Co-chairing the Eighth District gala are local business leaders, Donald T. “Boysie” Bollinger of Bollinger Shipyards, and Otto Candies, chairman and CEO of Otto Candies, LLC. Also scheduled to be in attendance to honor the Coast Guard members from New Orleans and Mobile will be VADM Sally Brice-O’Hara, Vice-Commandant; VADM Robert Parker, Atlantic Area Commander; and RADM Mary Landry, District 8 Commander.
Air Station New Orleans individuals who will be recognized are listed below. Hometowns are provided, if known:
LT Christopher Aument - Raleigh, NC
LT Scott Austin - Tampa, FL
AST3 Dustin Bernatovich - Nanticoke, PA
AST2 Shannon Brugh - Front Royal, VA
LCDR John Egan - Longwood, FL
AET3 Christopher Espinosa
AMT2 Kevin Fernandez - Miami, FL
LCDR Thomas Hickey - Grass Valley, CA
AST1 Brian Laubenstein - Hyde Park, MA
LT Almerick Lim - Glendale, CA
AET2 Scott Lloyd - Destin, FL
LT Craig Murray - Albany, NY
ASTC Kurt Peterson - Webster, FL
Individuals recognized from ATC Mobile are listed below. Hometowns are provided, if known:
AST3 Omar Alba - El Paso, TX
LT David Aldous - Glens Falls, NY
LT John Bettencourt - Sonora, CA
AMT2 Charles Clark - Bell Brook, OH
AST2 John Classic - Rowe, NM
HS Patrick Coppo - Taylor, MI
LT Jamison Ferriell - Greens Fork, IN
AST2 Jonathan Foss
LT Andrew Greenwood - Raleigh, NC
LT Daniel Howe - Memphis, TN
AET2 Casey Kretschmar
LT Mark Lay - Watkisville, GA
AET3 Roberto Lopez - Corpus Christi, TX
AET3 Matthew Pierce
AET2 Jamie Rivera - Douglas, GA
AET2 Michael Zoltek - Douglas, GA
“The heroism of the Eighth District Coast Guard members in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion cannot be understated,” said Anne Brengle, president of the Coast Guard Foundation. “We are so proud of the efforts of our Coast Guard men and women. It is a privilege to honor them at this event and provide support to them throughout the year. Like they did in response to hurricane Katrina, the Eighth District gave unselfishly and came to the aid of individuals in their district. Our Guardian of the Heartland awards dinner is a great opportunity for all of us to give back to them.”
To aid in the health, fitness and well-being of Coast Guard members stationed in District Eight, the Coast Guard Foundation has provided specific bases new fitness equipment such as weights, exercise bikes, basketball hoops and winter fitness gear, as well as outdoor grilling equipment. Since its inception in 1969, the Coast Guard Foundation has been committed to inspiring leadership, learning and a proud legacy of service to our nation by supporting the men and women of the United States Coast Guard and their families. The Foundation provides higher education grants to enlisted personnel, reservists and their children, financial support for college to families of Coast Guard members lost in the line of duty, relief to Coast Guard families who have lost possessions in natural disasters, and support for morale programs, including funding recreation, exercise and family-oriented facilities.
The Guardian of the Heartland Tribute to the United States Coast Guard Eighth District will be held on Friday, April 15, 2011 at Mardi Gras World, 1380 Port of New Orleans Place, New Orleans, Louisiana. A cocktail reception will begin at 6:30 pm with the dinner and program to follow at 7:30 pm.

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