Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw to deliver Christmas Trees to Navy Pier for over 1,000 needy families

CHICAGO – Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw will be arriving at Chicago’s Navy Pier on Friday, Dec. 4, 2009, at 8 a.m. with a delivery of Christmas Trees that will be distributed to more than 1,000 needy families.

A ceremony welcoming the Mackinaw will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009 near the “Captain at the Helm” statue south of the pier entrance.

The ceremony includes presentation of colors by a Sea Cadet Color Guard and a memorial wreath laying ceremony commemorating the merchant marine officers lost on the Great Lakes. The high point of the ceremony is a scheduled fly-over by a Coast Guard helicopter (HH-65 Dolphin) carrying a memorial wreath to be placed on the waves near the Chicago lighthouse.

Three families, representing the more than 1,000 deserving families who will be given trees this year, will be present to receive the first Christmas trees.

Guest speakers include: Capt. George Lisner, member of the Christmas Ship Executive Committee, Cmdr. Scott Smith, Commanding Officer of U. S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw and Capt. Luann Barndt, Sector Lake Michigan Commander and Chicago’s Captain of the Port.

Honored Guests include: Col. Vincent Quarles, Chicago District Army Corps of Engineers, and Lt. Peter J. Piaza, Commanding Officer, Marine and Helicopter Unit, Chicago Police Department.

Public Tours of the Mackinaw will be provided on Friday Dec. 4 – Saturday Dec. 5, 2009 from 1:30 – 5 p.m. The Mackinaw expects to depart Chicago on Sunday, Dec. 6, 2009.

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