by Rus Graham
The Coast Guard Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to the education, welfare and morale of all Coast Guard members and their families, have announced the 2012 Coast Guard Foundation Award for Heroism will be presented to Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak, for its rescue of eleven people in January 2012, at the 32nd Annual Salute to the United States Coast Guard event on Thursday, October 11, 2012 in New York City.
Coast Guard Foundation
On January 24, 2012, Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak was called into action to assist mariners of the 58-foot fishing vessel, Kimberly, in distress in treacherous weather conditions on Portage Bay. The boat reported being grounded in ice and hypothermic conditions as the results of category three hurricane level winds, 20-foot seas and heavy snow. A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter launched to aid the mariners; but due to heavy wind, they were unable to reach the Kimberly after several attempts. Meanwhile, the station received a second mayday call from a 68-foot fishing vessel, Heritage, that was sinking on the west side of Kodiak Island. With people in the water, an immediate response was required.
Helicopter crews launched to Heritage’s location and crewmembers were able to rescue the two people in the water. With the help of a good samaritan vessel on the scene, they were also able to successfully retrieve five people from a life raft floating nearby. As the rescue was being performed at the sinking vessel, the struggle to reach the members of the Kimberly continued. When winds decreased enough for a safe rescue attempt, the subzero temperature demanded an immediate action. The crew deployed a hoist basket and determined those suffering from the most exposure to be hoisted first, successfully recovered all four people from the Kimberly, and brought them back to Kodiak to be treated by medical personnel. The men and women from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak braved severe weather conditions and challenges to save the lives of eleven people.
To honor the crewmembers for their heroic effort, six members of Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak will be in attendance at the Coast Guard Foundation’s annual tribute to the Coast Guard and will receive the award for heroism. The awardees are: LCDR Josh Fitzgerald, LT Jason Evans, LT John Filipowicz, AST1 Rachid Arnick, AET3 Clark Patterson and AMT3 Joshua Shaffer.
'It is a privilege to honor the men and women of Air Station Kodiak at this year’s Salute to the United States Coast Guard,' said Anne B. Brengle, president, Coast Guard Foundation. 'The efforts of these brave and heroic individuals exemplify the dedication, in any condition, that all members of the Coast Guard are willing to take to save lives. These guardians deserve our admiration, support and gratitude for their efforts.'
The Foundation’s Annual Salute to the United States Coast Guard is a tribute to the brave United States Coast Guard heroes who risk their lives to save others. Hosted by the TODAY show’s Al Roker, the Foundation will also honor the American Bureau of Shipping and its chairman, Robert D. Somerville, for unwavering support of its mission for more than 25 years, including most recently its support for the sailing program at the Coast Guard Academy, scholarship programs for enlisted members, and special projects that benefit Coast Guard members and their families across the country.
The Weather Channel will also be recognized for the impact it has had highlighting the important and dangerous mission of the Coast Guard, which it features in two TV docu-series, Coast Guard Alaska and Coast Guard Florida, produced by Al Roker Entertainment. Featured guests for the evening also include Mrs. Veronica Kelly and her husband, New York City Police Commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly. A former Coast Guard reservist, Mrs. Kelly’s attendance highlights the importance reserve members play in protecting our shores and freedom.
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.
To reserve a table or purchase tickets for the Coast Guard Foundation’s 32nd Annual Salute to the United States Coast Guard visit coastguardfoundation.org, or call it’s Benefit Office in New York City at 212-245-6570 or its national headquarters at 860-535-0786.