The Coast Guard Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to the education and welfare of all Coast Guard members and their families, announced that its 26th annual Tribute to the Eighth Coast Guard District will be held at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans on Friday, March 15, 2019. At the event, the foundation will recognize Station Panama City for its response to Hurricane Michael. The event will feature an address by Coast Guard vice-commandant Admiral Charles Ray.
“We are honored to recognize the brave men and women of the Coast Guard’s Eighth District,” Susan Ludwig, president, Coast Guard Foundation, said in a statement announcing the event. “Even with their own homes and families affected by the hurricane, they remained dedicated to their community. Their steadfastness and personal sacrifice in the face of trial and calamity is a true example of devotion to duty.”
On Oct. 10, 2018, Hurricane Michael, a violent Category 4 storm and the third most intense Atlantic hurricane to have ever made landfall in recorded history, slammed into the Gulf Coast near Mexico Beach, Fla., just 25 miles from Coast Guard Station Panama City. Hurricane Michael claimed 45 lives and caused over $14 billion in damages. Station Panama City personnel, despite experiencing their own major personal losses and family displacement in the wake of the storm, immediately took action to recover the station’s readiness as an operational multi-mission unit and prepared the damaged unit facilities to house and stage hundreds of additional personnel and support equipment.
Station crew began search and rescue and maritime transportation system recovery operations almost immediately following Hurricane Michael’s passing, and provided support to local law enforcement agencies responding to waves of looting. In the days following the storm, station personnel acted as community first responders and conducted wellness checks at more than 180 homes of local residents and Coast Guard members of nearby units, providing much relief to those impacted by the violent storm.
In the long weeks and months following the storm, station work teams relocated displaced members and abandoned pets from storm damaged homes, placed tarps on the roofs of 27 homes, removed debris that blocked access to 56 homes, cleared and salvaged belongings, delivered critical supplies to remote and devastated communities, and distributed critical personal protective equipment to those in need.
In the aftermath of the storm, the foundation assisted 90 Coast Guard families in the Panama City area with $245,500 of support to help them recover and to rebuild their own homes and personal spaces.
The Coast Guard Foundation’s Tribute to the Eighth Coast Guard District will be held on Friday, March 15, 2019, at the National World War II Museum, 945 Magazine St. New Orleans. A cocktail reception will begin at 6:30 p.m. with dinner and the program following at 7:30 p.m.