A Veterans Day Shout-Out

From the first shots of the Revolutionary War to the men and women serving our country today, we owe an immeasurable debt of gratitude to our veterans. Their uncommon courage helped build our great nation and continues to keep it safe today.

Today we honor all Veterans, past and present, including those in our beloved Sitka.

We feel extremely fortunate to have the presence of the United States Coast Guard protecting our borders and people. Air Station Sitka is one of the most demanding flight environments, with over 180,000 square miles of water and land, including 12,000 miles of isolated and rugged coastline.

Sitka coast guardSince 1977, Air Station Sitka’s aircrews have saved over 1,800 lives, assisted thousands of others finding themselves in danger and saved several hundred million dollars in vessel property. On average, Air Station Sitka completes 130 Search and Rescue operations per year. Often the rescues involve 70-foot waves, severe turbulence, arctic conditions, and extended darkness to save individuals and property from the perils of the sea.

We are amazed by the bravery shown day after day.

One of the greatest high seas rescues in the history of the Coast Guard occurred 195 miles west of Sitka. On October 4, 1980 – only 35 years ago – the Dutch cruise ship Prinsendam caught fire in the Gulf of Alaska. Air Station Sitka crews were part of a joint international rescue effort consisting of 13 aircraft, 3 Coast Guard cutters, and 3 commercial ships. All 500+ passengers and crew were rescued within a 24-hour period, despite an incoming storm, 30-foot waves and low visibility.

Prinsendam rescue(Photo courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard)

Many of our employees have also given precious time to their country, and we couldn’t be more proud to have them as part of the Sea Mart family:

Lloyd Hames (father of Roger Hames)
Served in the Army from 1946-1947
Discharged as Private First Class (E-3)

Kenneth Whiteley (father of Mary Hames)
Served in the Marines from 1943-1973
Retired as a Master Sergeant (E-8)

Steve Huddleson (Front End Manager)
Served in the Marines from 1988-1992
Discharged as a Corporal (E-4)

Dave Simpson (Store Director – Market Center)
Served in the Marines from 1971-1975
Discharged as Corporal (E-4)

Ede Welsh (POS Manager)
Served in the Air Force from 1976-1989; Served in the Air Force Reserve from 1990-1995; Served in the Army from 1995-2000
Retired as a Staff Sergeant (E-6)

Not just today, but every day, we honor all of the brave men and women who have served our country. To those who have given their lives to protect our freedom, we cannot put into words our heartfelt gratitude for your sacrifice. To those who have served or continue to serve, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Who are the amazing Veterans in your life? Let us know about them in the comments!

And if you can, give them a hug today.