Air Station San Francisco Coast Guardsman receives American Legion Spirit of Service Award

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Story by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ivan Barnes

HOUSTON, Texas – This week the American Legion held its 95th Annual Convention in Houston. Hundreds gathered in attendance at the George R. Brown Convention Center to discuss legislative plans for the coming year and to honor and celebrate those individuals who have gone above and beyond their service obligations to the community and veterans. The Coast Guard was excited to have one of it’s own among the number to be recognized on August 27. Petty Officer 2nd Class Shawn Pugmire, a Boise, Idaho, native and aviation maintenance technician with Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco, received the Spirit of Service Award for outstanding commitment to the community.

Charity, lending a helping hand or performing a simple act of kindness is the theme here. A theme that should resonate with us all, but for Pugmire this is a naturally engrained trait. It’s no wonder why the American Legion, the nations largest veteran organization, would want to honor him with this award.

Off duty, Pugmire donates hundreds of hours volunteering in the community and as a volunteer fire fighter for a local department in San Francisco. Over the course of the year, Pugmire racked up more than 600 hours putting himself in harms way in a volunteer capacity. In addition, Pugmire coaches a boy’s soccer team and created a teen workout program to help change the cycle of unhealthy living with youth in his local area.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Shawn Pugmire, a aviation maintenance technician with Air Staion San Franciso accepts the Spirit of Service Award, Aug. 27, 2013, at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. Pugmire was honored for his community service accomplishments. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ivan J. Barnes.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Shawn Pugmire, a aviation maintenance technician with Air Staion San Franciso accepts the Spirit of Service Award, Aug. 27, 2013, at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ivan J. Barnes.

“It’s such a honor to receive this award from the American Legion,” said Pugmire. “These people dedicate a lot of their time and energy to see that our veterans are taken care of. I’m thankful to be recognized by such a distinguished organization.”

His actions are without a doubt charitable and consistent with everything the American Legion promotes and stands for.

“The American Legion does some wonderful things,” said William West, the Adjutant for the American Legion in the state of Texas. “We’re growing yearly and we’re able to help more and more veterans. We’ve raised so much money for numerous things: scholarship funds, for Operation Comfort Warrior that provides resources to wounded warriors recovering in hospitals. A lot gets accomplished here.”

As a military branch, the Coast Guard prides itself in making strides and excelling. Not only within the confines of the 11 missions; but many times the efforts of its members extend far beyond the service alone.

“I really just have a passion to help others,” said Pugmire. “I’ve always had the desire to do so and when the opportunities came about, I made sure that I was on board to lend a helping hand.”

Sure Pugmire donated a lot of his time to a noble cause, but it’s more than just the time he gave. It’s his desire to do more, to help those in need. The 600 hours he logged represents duration of time, but it doesn’t speak for the countless memories he’s helped create, the smiles he’s put on faces, or the lives he’s changed.

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