Coast Guard honored with night of warmth and humor

By Dan Otis Smith | May 06, 2017
Photo by: Dan Otis Smith Coast Guard caps sit on a table during the 11th Annual Coast Guard Appreciation Dinner.

Rockland — Local Coastguardsmen, their families, former and current city officials and other guests gathered in the Samoset Resort’s Bay Point Ballroom May 5 for the 11th Annual Coast Guard Appreciation Dinner.

Attendees were treated to a dinner, gifts, speeches, a film, music and a raffle to commemorate the service of local Coasties and the relationship between the Coast Guard and Rockland, a designated Coast Guard City since 2008.

Rockland is one of 21 Coast Guard Cities nationwide. The designation aims to build relationships between Coastguardsmen and their adopted homes.

Along with Coast Guard Station Rockland, the city hosts the Coast Guard cutters Thunder Bay, Abbie Burgess and Tackle.

Retired Chief Warrant Officer Paul Dilger of the Coast Guard City Committee acted as master of ceremonies, entertaining the crowd and introducing speakers like retired Chief Warrant Officer John Hurad, Cmdr. Jamie Frederick and Boatswain’s Mate Chief Petty Officer Eric Silvoy of the Tackle.

Frederick thanked Rockland for giving Coastguardsmen a home, especially given the frequent moves required as part of serving in the Coast Guard.

Silvoy, meanwhile, dedicated much of his speech to Coast Guard spouses, thanking them in particular for caring for children while Coastguardsmen are on duty. “I just want to thank you for your sacrifice,” he said. “You’re what pulls this thing together.”

Silvoy also spoke to an increased sense of openness in the Coast Guard compared to 15 years ago, relating an anecdote about when a lower-ranking Coastguardsman he didn’t recognize approached him to ask for a ride. That might not have happened in the past, he said.

A film was shown recognizing the lifesaving acts of former Whitehead Light keeper Russell Lane. Lane’s son, Russell Lane Jr., made the film to revive the memory of a 1958 incident when his father and then-16-year-old lobsterman David Gamage rescued five young campers on a sailing trip gone awry. Both the Lanes and Gamage attended the dinner.

Attendees received oil and vinegar sets from Fiore and chocolate bars from Bixby & Co., and some received gift bags or raffle prizes, including gift certificates to local restaurants and a free trip to Boston.

“What these men and women do on a daily basis, most people cannot imagine,” Dilger said.

Reporter Dan Otis Smith can be reached at 594-4401 x123 or by email at dsmith@villagesoup.com.

The 11th Annual Coast Guard Appreciation Dinner was held in the Bay Point Ball Room at the Samoset Resort May 5. (Photo by: Dan Otis Smith)
Cupcakes lie in wait outside the ballroom during the Coast Guard Appreciation Dinner May 5. (Photo by: Dan Otis Smith)
Eric Silvoy of the Coast Guard cutter Tackle speaks at the 11th Annual Coast Guard Appreciation Dinner. (Photo by: Dan Otis Smith)
Coastguardsmen and family listen during the 11th Annual Coast Guard Appreciation Dinner May 5. (Photo by: Dan Otis Smith)
The 11th Annual Coast Guard Appreciation Dinner was held May 5 in the Bay Point Ball Room at the Samoset Resort. (Photo by: Dan Otis Smith)
Spouses are recognized during the Coast Guard Appreciation Dinner. (Photo by: Dan Otis Smith)
The 11th Annual Coast Guard Appreciation Dinner was held in the Bay Point Ball Room at the Samoset Resort May 5. (Photo by: Dan Otis Smith)
Oil and vinegar sets from Fiore were among the gifts offered to attendees at the 11th Annual Coast Guard Appreciation Dinner. (Photo by: Dan Otis Smith)
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