The 3rd Annual U.S. Coast Guard Station Grays Harbor Appreciation Day event held Oct. 5 in McCausland Hall on the Westport Maritime Museum campus welcomed more than half of the station’s complement of 42 personnel, along with an equal or larger number of their family members.
The festivities started with a welcome from Master of Ceremonies, former Westport City Administrator, Randy Lewis. Lewis retired in 1998 as Station Grays Harbor Commanding Officer after a 21-year career in the Coast Guard.
Following the Pledge of Allegiance, South Beach Christian Center Lead Pastor Myron Ness offered Grace, with guests then enjoying a hearty all-they-could-eat buffet-style dinner featuring fresh cracked crab, baked whitefish, shrimp cocktails, salads, hot dogs, pizza, soft drinks and cupcakes.
Words of praise
Guest speakers, all of whom expressed their appreciation for the life-saving mission of the U.S. Coast Guard and more specifically the personnel at Station Grays Harbor, included State Representative Brian Blake, Westport Mayor Rob Bearden, event originator Verna MacDonald and WeFish president, Molly Bold.
Words of thanks
Station Grays Harbor Commanding Officer CWO2 Chet Evans then offered his thanks to the community on behalf of station personnel for taking the time and effort to express its appreciation to those assigned to Station Grays Harbor. He further noted that in all the years he has served at many duty stations, no other community has expressed so much appreciation for contributions made by its station members.
Evans then requested that crew members stand and be recognized by duty section, with each group receiving a round of applause.
The CO then related that after several months with just one Surfman, BM1 Brian Soderlund, qualified to command the station’s 52-foot Motor Life Boat whenever it has been called into service, he was happy to announce that just that morning, BMC Jeremy Culican completed his MLB seagoing qualifications. Evans then passed Culican’s framed certification document to Lewis, himself a former Station Grays Harbor MLB Surfman, who passed it on to Surfman Soderlund, who then presented it to Culican.
The event concluded with drawings for merchandise and gift and services certificates generously donated by South Beach businesses and individuals. All attending guests of honor received a free ticket for the drawings as they arrived at the event.
The event was organized by longtime community booster, Verna MacDonald with assistance from Westport South Beach Historical Society Executive Director John Shaw, community and Society volunteers and members of the WeFish organization, advocates for the local commercial fishing community.
Volunteer cooks this year included Westport Police Chief Tracy Rosenow, City Public Works Director Kevin Goodrich, South Beach EMS Director Art Cole and SBEMS Paramedic Dennis Benn.