MHC is Coast Guard Community Part 2
Stating our case as a Coast Guard Community:
Part 2 of 3
Carteret County has been notified that the U.S. Coast Guard Commandant will be coming for a visit and formally declare that Carteret County is “A Coast Guard Community.” This is a compilation of information contained in the application packet that was presented to Coast Guard headquarters.
“The Military Affairs Committee (MAC) of the Carteret County Chamber of Commerce is proud of our association with the U.S. Coast Guard,” said MAC Chair David Heath, who is also a member of the Newport Town Council.
“We are pleased to have Coast Guard representation on our committee, and we enjoy having the opportunity to express our appreciation to the men and women of the Coast Guard as well as their family members who are woven into the fabric of our communities.
“On behalf of the MAC, I was honored and privileged to write in support of Carteret County’s designation as ‘A Coast Guard Community,’” Heath said.
“As noted in the application letter from Carteret County Manager Russell Overman, who serves with me on the Chamber’s Board of Directors, Coast Guard personnel from Fort Macon and Emerald Isle are active, involved and are serving as leaders within our communities, stretching from Cedar Island to Cedar Point…and from Cape Lookout to Cape Carteret.
“The Coast Guard leadership is skillful in ‘setting the tone at the top.’ We welcomed Commander Javier Delgado, who joined us as supervisor at Station Fort Macon in the summer of 2015, succeeding Commander Kerrie Trebbe, who has transferred to Seattle, Wash.”
Cmdr. Trebbe excelled in establishing stronger community-military ties. She was the keynote speaker at the Memorial Day Service on May 26, 2014, at Bayview Cemetery in Morehead City, sponsored by American Legion Post 41. Her riveting speech was titled “Today, We Remember.”
|Left: MAC Chair David Heath and MAC member Katherine Cushinberry of Cape Lookout National Seashore welcomed military guests to “Down East Military Fun Day.”||Right: Cmdr. Karrie Trebbe shares a moment with a member of American Legion Post 41 prior to her Memorial Day remarks at Bayview Cemetery in Morehead City.|
Cmdr. Trebbe was there with the MAC to participate in the public dedication ceremony of the new concrete pier at the Army Reserve unit in Morehead City on May 3, 2014, which is a significant investment for the 824th Transportation Company (Heavy Watercraft). U.S. Representative Walter Jones was the featured speaker.
Cmdr. Trebbe along with Commander Billy Mitchell participated in the Chamber’s Board-Level Planning Conference in January 2014. One of the top priorities in the Chamber’s Legislative Agenda is “Support for the Military.” Their briefing on Coast Guard operations was extremely beneficial to Chamber Board members and key volunteer leaders who were assembled.
The Chamber’s Leadership Carteret professional development program is a 10-week session that is conducted each year during the January-March time period. Participants attend all-day sessions every Wednesday.
One of the highlights is always the visit to Sector Field Office Fort Macon and the briefing and tour provided by Coast Guard personnel. Class members enjoyed boarding the vessels to learn more about how the Coast Guard serves the community, state and nation.
The Leadership Carteret Class of 2014 had a special treat when Cmdr. Trebbe took them on a guided tour of the EAGLE when it came to Morehead City on March 28, 2014.
Sector North Carolina Captain Seah Murtagh, and his immediate predecessors in that post (Captain Anthony Popiel and Rear Admiral June Ryan) have been highly supportive of the Leadership Carteret program as well.
“We were honored that Vice Admiral Dean Lee (our former Sector Captain here) was the keynote speaker at the Leadership Carteret Graduation Ceremony in 2010,” Heath said. “The Coast Guard routinely has had at least one participant to enroll in the class, which is a testament to the value of the program.”
Some of the events, functions and activities sponsored by the MAC that recognize Coast Guard personnel in our communities are:
John C. Beitz Service of the Person of the Quarter Luncheon. Typically, 50-75 Chamber and MAC members attend the luncheons, which may be sponsored by local businesses. The MAC presents an honoree from each service branch with an American flag in a triangular wooden case with a glass front. Local businesses provide other gifts of assorted value.
Down East Military Fun Day. This is an annual fall event when the MAC hosts about 120 active duty military personnel who attend an outing at Cape Lookout National Seashore. Highlights include a ferry boat ride from Harkers Island to the Cape Lookout on South Core Banks, an opportunity to climb the Lighthouse and a huge pork chop luncheon. Local church members provide homemade dessert treats.
Guardsmen have been faithful participants in this function. For many of the participants, this is their first visit to the Cape, and they plan to return and bring their families.
Chief Ira Lewis, 97, a Coast Guard Veteran from Harkers Island, who enlisted in 1938 and retired in 1959 after 21 years of service to his country, participates in the Military Fun Day Flag Raising Ceremony. Chief Lewis was recognized at a Chamber event in 2012 and presented with a commemorative Sector North Carolina coin by Commander Derek D’Orazio.
On August 1, 2013, the Chamber’s Board of Directors unanimously authorized a Resolution of Appreciation to celebrate his 95th birthday and recognize him as one of Carteret County’s most outstanding citizens.
In fact, Chief Lewis was one who inspired this collaborative community effort to seek designation of Carteret County as an official “Coast Guard Community.”
“Chief Lewis is the consummate patriot,” Heath said. “He dedicated his entire career to protecting our nation’s maritime interests in the heartland, in the ports, at sea and around the globe, and for defending our maritime borders and for saving those in peril. He personifies the Coast Guard motto: Semper Paratus – Always Ready for all hazards and all threats.”
Cookies for the Troops. This project coincides with the Christmas holidays. The MAC collects homemade cookies, brownies and other dessert items that are contributed willingly by community members. A few days before Christmas, MAC volunteers load up and deliver boxes and boxes to Guardsmen, Marines, Sailors and Soldiers who are stationed at local bases. For many of those on assignment, this is their first time away from home for the holidays, so the cookies and other treats help brighten the holidays for them.
“Our favorite story is one that was shared by Christina Clements in 2012,” Heath said. “A Coast Guard spouse, Christina worked at Necaise Insurance & Financial Services, a Chamber-member business based in the Town of Newport. She participated in Leadership Carteret and joined the Chamber’s MAC and was also a Chamber Ambassador.
Her husband is Michael Clements II (a 1st Class Petty Officer at the time, who was stationed aboard USCGC SMILAX.) The SMILAX is “Queen of the Fleet,” homeported at Fort Macon. The Clements’ first-born child, a boy they named Rylan, was baptized aboard the SMILAX on March 16, 2012. (The photo appeared in 2013 Business Directory & Visitors Guide, published by the Chamber.)