(STONINGTON, Conn.) — The Coast Guard Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to strengthening the Coast Guard community and service by supporting members and families, announced Tuesday that it honored the heroism and mission excellence of Coast Guard crews for the rescue of six people during Hurricane Delta in 2020. Awards were given during the organization’s Texas Salutes the Coast Guard event held on Veterans Day in Houston.
Led by Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston, the rescue operation involved helicopter crews from Houston and Mobile, Ala., and a response boat crew from Station Galveston. The multi-unit response saved four adults, two children and three dogs from three fishing vessels that went aground in the Intracoastal Waterway near Gilchrist, Texas, on Oct. 9, 2020. High winds and rough seas put the grounded vessels at risk of rolling over. The quick reaction and exceptional teamwork of the responding Coast Guard crews likely averted tragedy. None of those rescued had life jackets or knew how to swim.
The award was presented by Coast Guard Foundation Chairman Tom Allegretti and President Susan Ludwig and was accepted on behalf of the crews by USCG Chief Aviation Survival Technician Kevin Cleary, 2nd Class Boatswain’s Mate David Reynolds, and Capt. Jason Smith.
The foundation also recognized the distinguished career of former board chairman and Houston resident, Will Jenkins. Jenkins received the foundation’s Distinguished Leadership Award, presented by inaugural award recipient Adm. Thad Allen, USCG (retired). Allen served as the 23rd commandant of the Coast Guard and is a member of the foundation’s board of directors.
Jenkins skillfully guided the foundation through much of the pandemic and led the organization’s new strategic growth plan that will double foundation support to the Coast Guard in the next several years. He also established the foundation’s annual Houston event in 2016, and it has quickly become one of the organization’s top fundraisers and celebrations of the service.
“The Coast Guard is one part of our government that, throughout its history – from its founding in 1790 through to this minute – has exceeded the high expectations that our country’s founders had when it was first established,” said Jenkins. “For as long as there is a United States of America, there will be a U.S. Coast Guard, and as long as there is a U.S. Coast Guard, the Coast Guard Foundation will be there to support those very special people who wear the uniform and their families.”
The foundation is grateful for the more than 60 corporate and individual sponsors who supported the event in Houston and raised over $1 million for programs that assist Coast Guard members and families nationwide. These include reception sponsors Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Excelerate Energy, Kirby Corp. and Quarter North Energy, as well as Shield of Freedom sponsors Cheniere Energy and Will and Cathy Jenkins.
To watch a video about the Will Jenkins Distinguished Leadership Award, click here.
To watch a video about the rescue by Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston, click here.
To learn more about the Coast Guard Foundation, or to help support its work, visit www.coastguardfoundation.org or call (860) 535-0786.
– Coast Guard Foundation