Four decades of dedication

A potrait of Auxiliarist George Eischens.  Eischens has been a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary for over 40 years.  U.S. Coast Guard graphic.

A potrait of Auxiliarist George Eischens. Eischens has been a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary for over 40 years. U.S. Coast Guard graphic.

To volunteer your time for 40 consecutive years takes dedication. And in the realm of the Coast Guard Auxiliary this means countless hours assisting in rescues, helping at local Coast Guard units and providing life saving training and safety checks to the public.

It was in 1974 when George Eischens joined the Coast Guard Auxiliary. He began his military service in the U.S. Air Force, the job that brought him to Adak, Alaska. Soon after departing from the Air Force, Eischens found himself back in Adak, this time working for the U.S. Navy. An ardent fisherman and living on an island where fishing is a way of life, the Auxiliary seemed like a natural fit.

“I got a job in Adak, and I worked with the Navy there,” said Eischens. “They had a Coast Guard Auxiliary unit, so I got hooked up with them and from then on I went on to be the top dog in that flotilla.”

During his 40 years of selfless service, Eischens has worked through all the ranks of the Auxiliary, culminating in the designation of Coast Guard 17th District Commodore. Since AuxData came online and began tracking Auxiliary mission data in 2002, Eischens has volunteered more than 1,753 hours.

“His dedication to the service has been exemplary, that’s for sure,” said Mike Riley, Eischen’s flotilla commander in Homer, Alaska. “He’s been with us a long time and has provided a lot of local knowledge that he’s passed down to other coxswains and crews in the Auxiliary.”

In February 2007, Eischens earned the BMC David Borg – Professional Auxiliary Coxswain Award for assisting in the rescue of a person trapped in an overturned skiff. The year prior he conducted four search and rescue cases, along with 22 other missions that included assisting 11 mariners and saving $55,000 in property.

“It was all in trying to help so the people could enjoy the water and get back home safely,” said Eischens. “It paid dividends. We’ve had some rescues. We were able to get to them before the cold water took them.”

Established by Congress in 1939, the volunteers that make up the Coast Guard Auxiliary pilot privately owned planes and boats to assist active duty members on a multitude of missions, which account for more than 2 million hours of volunteer service every year.

“Most Auxiliarists don’t work for recognition, but do work worthy of recognition,” said Lt. Cmdr. Gerald Hewes, Director of Auxiliary, Coast Guard 17th District. “I’m thankful for George’s 40 plus years of service, and he truly deserves to be recognized for all of his contributions to the Coast Guard Auxiliary and the Coast Guard 17th District.”

While his amount of volunteer time has declined over the years, Eischens passion and dedication is still in full force as he attends meetings and trains future recruits for the Auxiliary.

“I think it’s a very valuable organization,” said Eischens. “You can pass things on to people. I think everybody needs to volunteer with whatever they can do to help and this is one of the organizations.”

Eischens’ steadfast dedication will ensure future generations of Auxiliarists in the Last Frontier are prepared to assist those in need as he passes on his expertise and local knowledge. They will be able to follow in his footsteps and may too dedicate four decades to the service.

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