NEW YORK — Billboards flashed as thousands of selfie-snapping tourists brought Manhattan’s iconic Times Square to a metaphoric — and literal — standstill. Just a few feet from the gridlock was an event of similar excitement (albeit one with much more calm and order) — the annual Coast Guard Foundation fundraiser at the Marriott Marquis.
There members of the Coast Guard, businessmen, entrepreneurs and myriad members of the boating industry gathered to support the non-profit organization, which provides support to past and present members of the Coast Guard and their families.
The annual event raised more than $1 million, $250,000 of which will go directly to scholarships for children of Coast Guard families. The remainder of the funds will be allocated to one of the foundation’s many other initiatives, such as building recreation centers and playgrounds for Coast Guard families and providing emergency relief for the families of those who make the ultimate sacrifice.
To learn more about the scholarship program, take a look at this video the foundation produced.
“The Coast Guard’s motto is ‘Semper Paratus’ or ‘Always Ready’,” said Anne Brengle, president of the Coast Guard Foundation. “We embrace that motto in everything that we do, including our scholarship program. It is our goal to always be ready to help any enlisted Coast Guard member’s child get a college education. With the help of the generous donations we received, we continue to make that goal a reality.”
Besides the philanthropic activities that night, the fundraiser celebrated the success of the crews of the CG 29123 and WMSL 752, who respectively interdicted a record 35,000 pounds of cocaine ($540 million wholesale value) during a three-month mission and rescued a fisherman who spent seven hours lost at sea without a PFD.
At the conclusion of the event, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft gave his heartfelt thanks for the foundation’s support.
“I want to thank the Coast Guard Foundation for taking care of my most precious cargo — the men and women of the Coast Guard and their families. We couldn’t do our job without the foundation. They’ve stood by us through everything.”