CGC SPAR supports “Kids Don’t Float”
Posted by PA2 Diana Honings, Monday, August 25, 2014
Written by Ens. Keith Arnold, public affairs officer, CGC SPAR.
Coast Guard Cutter SPAR took time from servicing aids to navigation Tuesday to visit the isolated community of Ouzinkie, Alaska, on the south side of Spruce Island just north of Kodiak.
The visit was hosted to strengthen the Coast Guard’s connection and partnership with Alaska’s tribes and communities, which helps cultivate a better understanding of the needs of the waterway users while enhancing resource networks. In this instance, SPAR’s Executive Officer Lt. Ian Hanna and Petty Officer 1st Class Richard Quintana, an independent health service technician, carried with them a small gesture of goodwill in the form of two boxes of children’s life jackets donated as part of the statewide safe water activities initiative called “Kids Don’t Float.”
According to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, “’Kids Don’t Float’ is a statewide injury prevention program that was developed to address Alaska’s high child and youth drowning rate.” Under this effort, numerous state and federal agencies partner together to distribute child life vests and teach water safety. The program has been welcomed by community leaders and has seen success since its inception in 1996. The success of the “Kid’s Don’t Float” program has placed even greater emphasis on the importance of reaching out to Alaska’s community leaders such as Ouzinkie Mayor Dan Clarion.
Upon arriving in Ouzinkie, the SPAR sailors were warmly welcomed by the mayor who provided a tour of the community while sharing his goals of turning the old, gravel airplane runway into a thriving garden with crops for subsistence, elongating the ferry pier as well as other community projects.
SPAR is a 225-foot seagoing buoy tender homeported in Kodiak. The ship works for Coast Guard 17th District based out of Juneau.