The Coast Guard Foundation's 32nd Annual Salute to the United States Coast Guard on Thursday, October 11, 2012 in New York City honored Coast Guard heroes from Air Station Kodiak, Alaska for its participation in two daring rescues on a single night in January. Nine-time Emmy winner Al Roker served as the evening's MC. Additional honored guests for the evening included: the American Bureau of Shipping, The Weather Channel and New York City Police Commissioner and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Ray and Veronica Kelly. Click here to see a photo gallery from the evening.
"The Coast Guard goes out when no one else will — and they save lives in the process. It is an incredible organization and these guardians deserve our admiration, support and gratitude for their efforts. It is truly an honor to help the Coast Guard Foundation at their Salute and in their efforts to support these brave individuals," said Mr. Roker.
On January 24, a fishing vessel and its crew were grounded in ice and hypothermic conditions, unable to be picked up by the Coast Guard because of severe wind and weather conditions that are unique to Alaska — sustained 50 - 60 mph hurricane winds, 20 foot seas, heavy snow and ice — when a second rescue call came in for a fishing vessel that had sunk nearby.
In total, four Coast Guard helicopters and two airplanes, plus a good Samaritan boat completed the rescues, with the support and work of the entire air station crew on the ground.
"The Salute to the Coast Guard honors heroes who risk their lives to save others in need," said Anne B. Brengle, Coast Guard Foundation president. "These brave individuals deserve our admiration and respect, as well as our support."
To honor and represent the Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak, the Coast Guard Foundation brought six members of the group, as well as the former commanding officer of the air station, Capt. Bill Deal, to be honored at the dinner.
The event also honored the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) and its longtime chairman, Robert D. Somerville, as well as The Weather Channel. Both ABS and The Weather Channel have done a great deal to enhance the lives of Coast Guard personnel. ABS has been a robust supporter of the Foundation, and The Weather Channel, with its TV programs about Coast Guard missions, has shined a light on the many challenges the men and women of the service, and their families, face on a daily basis.
Mrs. Veronica Kelly, and her husband, New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, were also honored guests at the dinner. Mrs. Kelly served in the Coast Guard Reserves.
For over 40 years, the Coast Guard Foundation has been committed to inspiring leadership, learning and a proud legacy of service to our nation by supporting the men of women of the United States Coast Guard. The Foundation provides higher education grants to enlisted personnel, reservists and their children, higher education financial support for families of Coast Guard members lost in the line of duty, financial 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.