17th District Coast Guard Auxiliary names new Commodore

Coast Guard Rear Adm. Dan Abel, 17th District commander, and Comodore Mark SImoni, National Commodore of the U.S Coast Guard Auxiliary, swear Auxiliarist Bruce Jones in as the 30th Commodore of the 17th District during the District 17 Auxiliary Awards Banquet in Anchorage, Alaska, Feb. 15, 2015.  Jones joined the Auxiliary in 2006 and is a charter member of the Petersburg Flotilla.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Shawn Eggert.

Coast Guard Rear Adm. Dan Abel, 17th District commander, and Comodore Mark SImoni, National Commodore of the U.S Coast Guard Auxiliary, swear Auxiliarist Bruce Jones in as the 30th Commodore of the 17th District during the District 17 Auxiliary Awards Banquet in Anchorage, Alaska, Feb. 15, 2015. Jones joined the Auxiliary in 2006 and is a charter member of the Petersburg Flotilla. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Shawn Eggert.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary has long been a valuable resource for the Coast Guard. The contributions of the volunteers who make up the Auxiliary tremendously enhance the Coast Guard’s service and, every year, members from the 17th District Coast Guard Auxiliary gather to honor the accomplishments of their own during an awards banquet in Anchorage, Alaska. At this year’s event, however, they had another reason to celebrate; the naming of a new 17th District Coast Guard Auxiliary Commodore.

Commodore Mike Morris passed leadership of the 17th District Auxiliary to Auxiliarist Bruce Jones during an awards banquet in Anchorage Feb. 15. Jones, a resident of Whittier, joined the Auxiliary during a recruiting drive in 2005 while serving as the town’s city manager. The recruiting drive resulted in the formation of the Petersburg Flotilla with Jones becoming a charter member and one of six qualified coxswains.

“My auxiliary career just sort of took off from there,” said Jones. “I started taking on leadership positions and my qualifications began to grow just by recognizing a need in our flotilla and jumping in to help.”

A member of the Marine Corps from 1970-1974, Jones believes strongly in volunteerism and its benefits to communities throughout the U.S. Recognizing the great need for boating safety education in Alaska, Jones qualified as a qualification examiner, commercial fishing vessel examiner and uninspected vessel examiner among other competencies within the Auxiliary.

“Volunteering to serve your community is a responsibility that everyone should consider,” said Jones. “There are so many groups and organizations to choose from there should be something for everybody. The secret is to find a need in something you like to do and get involved. Nothing can be more important that improving the quality of life in a community or making a difference in another person’s life. It brings to the volunteer a sense of purpose and a feeling of well being. One of the benefits for me personally is that I get to work alongside some of the best, brightest, and dedicated people this country has to offer, the members of the United States Coast Guard.”

Since becoming commodore, Jones has identified four areas on which he’d like to concentrate: leadership, improving communications, member recognition and reminding his shipmates that the Auxiliary is an important part of Team Coast Guard.

“It’s very important for us to continually seek for ways to improve our skills as leaders and identify our future leaders,” said Jones.   “We also need to improve our communications across this vast district so we can provide leaders with the tools they need to accomplish their missions and provide timely recognition to members that are out there to see that no member feels undervalued. Lastly, I want to remind our members that we are part of Team Coast Guard. We‘re here to serve the Coast Guard no matter what, and we will carry on the best we can with what we have.”

Lt. Cmdr. Gerald Hewes, 17th District director of the Auxiliary, sees great things ahead for the Auxiliarists under Jones’ leadership.   “Serving as D17’s Auxiliary chief of staff for the past two years, Commodore Bruce Jones was the perfect choice to lead the Coast Guard Auxiliary in Alaska,” said Hewes. “As a prior State Trooper, public works director and city manager, he brings a wealth of professional and life experiences to the table and as a veteran and a Marine, he understands what it means to serve. I have the utmost respect for Commodore Jones and I look forward to working with him over the next couple of years.”

Congratulations Commodore Jones and good luck during your tenure!

 

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