Coast Guard Foundation Announces Inaugural First District Awards Dinner
Non-Profit’s Tribute Celebrates the United States Coast Guard’s Finest in Boston.
The Coast Guard Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to the education, welfare and morale of all Coast Guard members and their families, announced today that its Inaugural First District Coast Guard Awards Dinner will take place on Thursday, September 15, 2011 in Boston. The evening’s Master of Ceremonies, ADM Thad W. Allen, USCG (Ret.) former commandant and current Coast Guard Foundation board member, and honorary Co-Chairs, Senator John Kerry and Senator Scott Brown will give remarks honoring the bravery and courage of the First District guardians who enforce maritime law, protect our homeland and preserve the environment. The event will also be attended by VADM Robert Parker, commander of the Atlantic Area and RADM Daniel A. Neptun, commander of the First District.
Recognizing Coast Guard members of the First District, which stretches from the busy ports of northern New Jersey and New York City to the upper reaches of Maine, the dinner will raise funds for important Foundation programs and projects that seek to improve the lives and performance of Coast Guard members, their families and Coast Guard Academy cadets.
Two awards will be presented during the tribute to the First District:
Honored with the Coast Guard Foundation’s award for heroism, the Station Chatham duty crew will be recognized for its quick response on July 31, 2010. Their precise actions and on-scene initiatives saved the lives of eleven people on board a yacht engulfed in flames, just south of Wychmere Harbor, Massachusetts. BMI Matthew Hussey (coxswain), BMI Josh Perkins (crewmember), MK2 Jason Martin (crewmember) and BM3 Sherman Baldwin (crewmember) quickly responded to the middle-of-the-night call and arrived on the scene in ten minutes. Employing expert boat handling skills, the crew positioned the bow of their boat alongside the bow of the burning vessel. In the face of flames and intense heat, the crew removed all passengers from danger within six minutes of their arrival on the scene. Moments after the last passenger was rescued, the yacht was completely consumed by flames and the flares onboard began exploding. Confronted with a life-threatening situation where every minute mattered, the crew demonstrated exceptional calm, focus and professionalism in their successful rescue.
The second award of the evening will be presented to Mr. Gerald W. Blakeley Jr. Mr. Blakeley will receive the Rescuer Award in recognition of his lifetime of service and support to the Coast Guard Foundation. First elected to the Foundation’s Board of Directors in 1976, Mr. Blakeley served as Chairman from 1989 to 1992. In 2006, he was elected to the position of Trustee Emeritus. He actively served on the Investment Committee, chairing the group until 2009. Mr. Blakeley was instrumental in establishing the Coast Guard Foundation’s boat donation program to benefit the United States Coast Guard Academy Sailing Team. A titan in commercial real estate, Mr. Blakeley also brought his business savvy to the Foundation’s Investment Committee. He has played a key role in transitioning the management of the Foundation’s endowment portfolio to professional investment advisors and was instrumental in turning the Coast Guard Foundation’s property in Stonington, Connecticut into an investment opportunity.
“Our First District Awards Dinner brings together our partners and the community in a proud expression of gratitude to honor and celebrate the heroic efforts of men and women who wear the Coast Guard uniform,” said Anne Brengle, president of the Coast Guard Foundation. “This event not only shines a light on the profound bravery and sacrifice of our maritime guardians, it raises funds to support important Coast Guard Foundation programs and projects that enhance the lives of Coast Guard members and their families.”
Over the past year, the Coast Guard Foundation provided the Coast Guard’s First District with fitness equipment for cutters and bases that help active duty personnel stay in shape. The Foundation also outfitted the Coast Guard station on Staten Island, New York, with a computer room and learning center for service men and women enrolled in college. The station has an Empire State College satellite classroom for personnel attending classes twice a week. This year, the Foundation is raising $70,000 to rehabilitate and repair the basketball court and playground at the Coast Guard station in Southwest Harbor, Maine. “Big or small, these projects make a difference in the daily lives of the brave men and women of the Coast Guard, who serve us every day,” continued Brengle. Taking place Thursday, September 15, 2011 at the John Joseph Moakley Courthouse, One Courthouse Way, Boston, Massachusetts, the event will begin with a cocktail reception at 6:30 p.m. followed by 7:30 p.m. dinner reception. For more information on the Coast Guard Foundation’s tribute to the Coast Guard’s First District service men and women, the Coast Guard Foundation, or to help support its work, please visit the Coast Guard Foundation website at www.coastguardfoundation.org.