Yesterday, I went on a road trip with my husband up to Port Angeles to meet with a United States Coast Guard rescue swimmer. We both love our “road trips” so I was very happy to accompany him even though we had to leave at the crack of dawn. The weather was cooperating, the drive fun, and it is always a great chance to visit with one another. I have to say that after being married for almost thirty five years we still have never run out of things to talk about, and he makes me laugh like no other person on the earth!
The first thing I realized as we approached the USCG Station with my Passport at the ready, was how expansive the Strait of Juan de Fuca really is, and how amazing it was to see Victoria, B.C. just across the water as we drove down that very long road to the gate. The guard was friendly, we were allowed to go forward, park the truck, and enter the hangar that holds the Coast Guard’s very impressive rescue helicopters.
The meeting was set up in order to get detailed insights as to the protocols that are established for an “on the water” USCG rescue mission. These insights will be included in the advanced and extensive Maritime First Aid for the Recreational Boater course that my husband’s currently writing. He will be instructing the course at the Seattle based Center for Wooden Boats throughout 2019, and plans to present it at other venues in order to reach as many recreational boaters as he can to help them know what to do if they are met with a real life medical situation on board. Needless to say, I am beyond proud of what he is doing, and know in my heart that he will be responsible for helping people save lives.
As a civilian, I was appropriately humbled at the sheer scope of the focus, dedication, and the positive atmosphere that greeted us. The rock and roll music streamed throughout the hangar as about eight young “Coasties” worked on the various parts of one of the huge orange and blue copters. There was another big beautiful helicopter that stood at the ready right in the center of the hangar as the third one was already out on a training mission.
We were greeted and escorted to the office to wait for our rescue swimmer, and had already met four Coast Guard members who were warm and friendly, but I felt like a little munchkin who had somehow landed onto a very different world, and wasn’t in Oz anymore! I felt so out of place, but tried to act like I was cool because I am the “administrator” of our First Aid Training Company, and knew that it was imperative that I too get to meet and listen to some of the most important information my husband was going to get at this meeting.
The inner office door opened and a young man by the name of Ryan walked out with coffee cup in hand. He led us out to the gorgeous and impressive helicopter at the center of the hangar, and with a polite and self possessed manner filled the hour with poised and patient answers as we were given important and insightful knowledge on what the Coast Guard does when there is a rescue or medical emergency situation on the water. Ryan was beyond inspiring, and I thank him profusely and express my gratitude to the United States Coast Guard for their service to all of us.
I certainly can’t leave out the volunteer branch called the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. My husband has been a proud member of the Auxiliary for eleven years, has received numerous meritorious service awards, and was recently elected as the USCG/Aux Flotilla Commander beginning January 1st, 2019.
All of these amazing USCG men and women stand at the ready every single day to defend, protect and serve those who go to sea; thank you for your service!