The lifeblood of the Coast Guard Foundation is its Board of Directors and Trustees, who make possible much of what the Foundation does for Coast Guard members and their families.
Brosius D'Arcy is one of those people. D'Arcy — affectionately known as "Bro" to his Foundation peers — was a stockbroker with Merrill Lynch in Chicago. He became a recreational boater when he and his wife Dede moved permanently to Florida in 1991. He became interested in supporting the men and women of the Coast Guard after he heard a crew make a night rescue in the Gulf of Mexico.
"I thought to myself: that's a hell of a way to make a living," Bro said. His interest in finding ways to support the men and women of the Coast Guard grew after he and Dede took a 2,200-mile trip up the Mississippi River from Florida all the way up to northern Michigan.
Bro and Dede D'arcy pay a visit to Coast Guard Foundation's offices in Stonington, Conn.
"You're pretty much alone in the month of May on the Mississippi River," Bro said. But the sound of the Coast Guard doing radio checks every hour put him and Dede at ease. "That gave us the feeling that, 'hey, we're not alone,' and that was extremely comforting."
Eventually the Foundation and Bro crossed paths, when he received a mailing asking him to support the organization. He checked with the local Coast Guard station in Ft. Myers Beach to see if anyone had heard of the Foundation and they had. His first contribution was buying the station a new washing machine and dryer. "And that got me started."
Since then, Bro has been a tireless advocate for the Foundation, seeking out other donors to help Coast Guard personnel in Florida and around the country. His preferred area of support is the Foundation's Shipmate Fund, a morale fund that pays for gear that isn't in the budget, like exercise and recreation equipment. He started soliciting donations by going from marina to marina in the Ft. Myers area.
"I went out and called on people who had boats, or didn't have boats — I didn't care," Bro said. "One guy gave me $10. One guy gave me $10,000."
In 2010, Bro's friends made a substantial donation to the Shipmate Fund in his honor, allowing the Foundation to bolster the coffers of that fund and provide morale projects that wouldn't have been possible otherwise. The Foundation was able to use the gift as the basis for a direct mail matching gift appeal, and thanks to Bro's efforts, the Shipmate Fund has become one of the cornerstones of how the Foundation supports Coast Guard personnel across the country.