CAPE MAY, N.J. — The children at the Child Development Center located onboard the Coast Guard Training Center Cape May received a donation of more than 2,500 books from Janet Cantrell, wife of Steven Cantrell, the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard, Wednesday, that will restock the library that was damaged during a winter storm in February.
Cantrell visited the training center last April and took a tour of the CDC. During the tour, Cantrell became curious as to why the book shelves in the library looked so empty. The director, Kathi Getka, explained that a pipe at the facility had burst during a winter storm, which flooded the building with 6″ of water and destroyed nearly 1,000 books as a result. Upon returning to Washington, D.C., Cantrell decided to organize a book drive and solicited donations from Coast Guard Ombudsman and spouse’s groups as well as units throughout the country.
“It’s amazing what a few E mails resulted in,” said Cantrell. “The generosity of the people in our service was overwhelming.”
Nearly 40 boxes containing more than 2,500 books were delivered by both Mrs. Cantrell and Master Chief Cantrell, who were also treated to a short program conducted by the children who sang songs and presented a book titled “A Book for Mrs. Cantrell” that was written and illustrated by the children and staff of the CDC.
“I will cherish this forever,” Mrs. Cantrell said.
The staff were especially appreciative of the gesture as they presented the Cantrells with gifts from the different children’s rooms including pictures painted by the children.
“Never had anyone in my 23 years here put forth so much support for the kids,” said Getka. “This was no small feat, and it’s like a mini miracle for us.”