Here’show to be a chum to a wet chum

Published on Thu, Nov 4, 2004
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Here’s how to be a chum to a wet chum

Two United States Coast Guard Auxiliary members rescued an elderly man Wednesday after he slipped and fell into the 40-degree waters of Blaine Harbor Marina.

Stewart Armstrong and Robert Franco, both men from Blaine and members of Auxiliary Flotilla 19, were nearby performing a “Dock Watch Patrol” when the elderly man went in.

Another auxiliary member, Richard Coons of Everson, was standing nearby and assisted Armstrong and Franco with pulling the man out of the water.

The elderly man was visiting his friend and auxiliary member, Bill Bender, when he fell into the water. He was reported to have no injuries but was shaken up by the event.

Bender, being a very junior member of the auxiliary, stated he had learned a good lesson in what “America’s Volunteer Lifesavers” are all about. He didn’t realize that part of being in the auxiliary meant occasionally rescuing boaters in need or in trouble.

A “Dock Watch Patrol” is one of the activities Flotilla 19 members are performing in coordination with the Port of Bellingham.

Since World War II the auxiliary has assisted the Coast Guard with nearly all of its missions. Today that volunteer force is made up of more than 38,000 members, more than 5,000 privately owned surface vessels and nearly 300 aircraft.

The auxiliary is a valuable asset in augmenting active duty and reserve Coast Guard personnel. Coast Guard Auxiliary members are recognized as a valuable part of the Coast Guard team and as such are authorized to wear Coast Guard uniforms with an auxiliary insignia.