Honoring the Coast Guard ombudsmen


Kodiak Ombudsmen

Lt. j.g. Ashley Bullard of the Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley, presents a certificate of appreciation and flowers to Mrs. Ginnie Fonville, the cutter’s ombudsman, during an appreciation luncheon in Kodiak, Alaska, March 26, 2013. Fonville serves a vital information and resources link between Coast Guard families and the cutter to which their loved ones are assigned. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Sara Francis.

Tuesday was Ombudsman Appreciation Day across the Coast Guard.  Here in Alaska, we would like to take the opportunity to honor all those who have served or are currently serving as a unit ombudsman.

An ombudsman is an official volunteer designated by the command.  They are trained to assist command families with information and referral resources, facilitate communication between Command and families and provide readiness support during deployments, emergencies or crisis.  Additionally they help the command ensure the morale, health, welfare and efficiency of personnel and their dependents.

In 2011, Adm. Bob Papp, commandant, stated in his State of the Coast Guard address that his goal was to, “place renewed focus on ensuring our housing, child care development centers and other family support programs are the best they can be.”  He continued by saying that while there are many parts of this initiative, first on his list was the ombudsman program.

Resulting from that renewed focus, the Coast Guard designated March 26 as Ombudsman Appreciation Day.

While an ombudsman can play a valuable role within a command, that role has an even greater importance here in our Alaska commands.

“With many of our units here in Alaska located in smaller communities, an ombudsman can play a vital link to new families as they are relocating to an area,” said Vanessa Bryant, family resource specialist and ombudsman coordinator for Kodiak.  “An ombudsman is the command’s local community expert helping service members and their families get settled, but also providing a direct link from the dependents to the command.”

“Additionally, the ombudsman plays a vital role in communicating with deployed commands, passing information about family emergencies and during a Coast Guard emergency ensuring that family members have proper information about the situation.  The ombudsman is a vital role that is a very important part of every command,” said Bryant.

The ombudsman program is all about supporting members and their families. So on this day of appreciation, please show your support and give thanks to your unit’s ombudsman. With the help of a unit ombudsman, family members can remain steadfast alongside their service members.

For more information about the Coast Guard ombudsman program please visit:

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