Local community shows appreciation to Coast Guard

Pacific Southwest Coast Guard News
San Francisco – Coast Guard members gathered with local community members to show appreciation for the Coast Guard Friday, August 16, 2013 at the Cliff House restaurant in San Francisco.

Thirty-six years ago, Dan Hountalas, the owner of the Cliff House, witnessed a mishap with a sail boat located near the South Bar and called it in. The Coast Guard went out to rescue the family, and the survivors personally thanked Hountalas.

“I was upset when the family thanked me because they didn’t thank the Coast Guard,” said Hountalas.

That’s when he decided to throw an appreciation party for the Coast Guard and every year since then he had continued the tradition.

“It raises morale for Coast Guard members,“ Hontalas said. “Everyone does a great job and should be recognized for their hard work.”

Rear Adm. Charles Ray, deputy commander for Pacific Area, said the event is a great opportunity for Coast Guard members to meet with local community members and to recognize the appreciation the community has for them.

A ceremonial cake is displayed during an event at Cliff House in San Francisco, Aug. 15, 2013. The event was held to show the local community's appreciation to the Coast Guard for all their hard work. U.S Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Loumania Stewart

A ceremonial cake is displayed during an event at Cliff House in San Francisco, Aug. 15, 2013. U.S Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Loumania Stewart

“This is part of what the Coast Guard does,” said Ray. “We get to know the community and associate with them, which makes the partnerships work.”

Frank Dean, the superintendent for the National Park Services, said it’s a wonderful opportunity to be in a room full of Coast Guardsman.

“It’s great to get to know one another because we work closely together,” said Dean. “We know the quality of work the Coast Guard does; they shine. We know the hard work you do.“

Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Botnen enjoyed the fact he was able to associate with junior members and other Coast Guardsmen.

Dan Hountalas, owner of Cliff House restaurant, speaks to Coast Guard members during an event at Cliff House in San Francisco, Aug. 16, 2013. The event was held to show appreciation for Coast Guard members and their hard work. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Loumania Stewart

Dan Hountalas, owner of Cliff House restaurant, speaks to Coast Guard members during an event at Cliff House in San Francisco, Aug. 16, 2013. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Loumania Stewart

“We are all here together for the same fight even though we may have different backgrounds and our jobs are different,” Botnen said.

The Coast Guard members appreciated the event held on their behalf including Senior Chief Jeffrey Bonafilia.

“It’s a nice change for all of us to get together to represent the Coast Guard,” Bonafilia said. “It’s rare for all these members to get together and recognize the appreciation that is shown.”

Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan Stemmerman agreed with Bonafilia saying, “It’s not often the Coast Guard gets recognized on a larger scale like this and it’s appreciated.”

As proclaimed by Edwin L. Lee, mayor of the city and county of San Francisco, “The U.S. Coast Guard possesses the highest standards of professionalism and personal integrity in all that they do adhering to the core values of honor, respect and devotion to duty.”

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