South Jersey Community,
As the fifth anniversary of Cape May County’s designation as a “Coast Guard Community” approaches, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the relationship between the residents and elected officials of the county and the Coast Guard.
We share a deep-rooted connection with more than 100 years of history and growth, built on trust and sustained by an invaluable sense of community. It has been my mission, and my pride, to proclaim that Cape May County is the Coast Guard’s hometown! This could not be said without the dedication every one of you has shown to ensuring that the men and women who serve here feel like family. All of you have embraced our service and supported our members through myriad individual and organizational outreach efforts that offered not only kind words, but kind actions.
Whether it is thanking our newest volunteers for their service as you see them on their first off-base liberty, organizing events to assist our members in uncertain financial times, or opening your homes during the holidays to more than 300 recruits, it is no wonder that Cape May County earned its designation as a Coast Guard Community, nor why those who serve here feel that we aren’t just the Coast Guard, but your Coast Guard.
With more than 80% of our entire workforce receiving their initial training here, Cape May County is significant to our service’s cultural identity. This is where they take their first steps in uniform and where they learn to live by our core values of Honor, Respect and Devotion to Duty. They are reborn as Coast Guardsmen here and will forever hold Cape May in their minds as the place where their careers of relevant service began. It is for this reason that we are forever tied to this community in service and in spirit.
While the designation as a Coast Guard Community is emblematic of our past relationship, it stems from and is sustained through a pattern of mutual support and engagement. Every five years our partnership undergoes external scrutiny to ensure it is indeed a vibrant relationship worthy of its moniker. As our community looks at accomplishments already in our wake and toward the horizon of planned engagement through this process, I expect we’ll be astounded to see the full depth and breadth of the impacts we have experienced together.
There is no better to place to start the re-application process, than in the planning of a celebration worthy of the title “Hometown of the Coast Guard.” I am proud to say that through continued cooperation and the hard work of county Freeholders, city Mayors, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Coast Guard Community Foundation we will hold the 5th Annual Coast Guard Community Festival 04 May 2019. The celebration will be centered on the Training Center in Cape May and our operational units, and will include events that will be open to the public. Thank you for lending your support for celebrating your community’s achievement in support of our service. This is an opportunity to showcase to the nation both the pride we have in calling Cape May County home, and the dedication to our service that only the citizens of South Jersey can claim.
Captain Owen Gibbons
Coast Guard Training Center Cape May
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