Area Auxiliary member honored
Editor’s note: This submission represents the personal opinions of the author and should not be used to characterize the opinions of the Pioneer Tribune.
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MANISTIQUE – Jim Gheldof of Brighton, Mich., recently sent a letter of thanks for the assistance of Louis Leveille, of Coast Guard Auxiliary St. Ignace, and Bob Williams, of Coast Guard Auxiliary Manistique.
Gheldof stated on Aug. 3 at 5:45 a.m. he and crew of fishermen had launched in the Cheboygan River as competitors in the annual Salmon Tournament. They had proceeded in Gheldof’s 24-foot boat to an area just off Round Island when they lost drive power on their boat.
At 6:30 a.m., they started calling all the commercial towing companies they could locate as did the representative from Sea Tow. By 9 a.m., it became clear that there was no one from any commercial company, at tournament control, or any local sheriff patrol boat that was available to lend assistance.
The waves were building and were four to five feet at that time, and they had drifted approximately two miles until their anchor held at the east side of Bois Blanc Island. The Coast Guard station broadcast their position and situation and informed Gheldof and his crew a Coast Guard Auxiliary patrol boat was responding from St. Ignace.
Gheldof stated in his letter of appreciation that Captain Leveille and his patrol partner Williams, without regard for their comfort or safety, braved the rough water and located the fishermen in their disabled craft. They orchestrated the attachment of a stout tow line while fighting wind and waves, and successfully towed the vessel over nine miles back to the safety of Cheboygan River Launch.
He further stated the professionalism and dedication that they demonstrated on their behalf are a fine reflection on both men and the Coast Guard Auxiliary. The Auxiliary is lucky to have men and women of their caliber and resolve and so are we as boaters and fishermen. Both Leveille and Williams received citations of commendations for their efforts of Aug.3.
The Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed volunteer component of the United States Coast Guard, created by a act of Congress in 1939. The Auxiliary supports the Coast Guard in nearly all of the services missions.
Manistique Coast Guard Auxiliary was established in 2010. Manistique Flotilla No. 26-05 is one of 134 Flotillas within the Ninth Coast Guard District, which stretches over eight states, has 35 divisions and includes more than 3,250 Auxiliary members.
Manistique Flotilla’s key strategic location on Lake Michigan’s northern shore will fills a critical gap in response time for possible water rescues, supporting the Coast Guard’s ability to enhance its rescue efforts when called upon to do so.
The local Flotilla is comprised of 18 men and women, now in its fourth year of existence. Manistique has five crewmen fully trained and two are in position to advance to coxswain. Once a person’s boat has passed inspection it can be used as a facility to carry out patrols and search and rescue as directed by the Coast Guard. Each facility must have qualified coxswain and it takes many hours of training and on-water time to reach that level of training.
Manistique Flotilla No. 26- 05 will begin 2014 with Paul Johnson as Flotilla Commander and James Foote as Vice Flotilla Commander.
Anyone interested in more information can call (906) 341- 6405. All meetings are held at 6 p.m. on the third Monday of the month at the Blanchard Center.
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Manistique Flotilla No. 26-05 Vice Commander Al Grimm