Station Philly Helps “Shape Up New York”

by Coast Guard Seaman Crystalynn A. Kneen

As the sun rises over the statue of liberty and the early morning breeze hits Petty Officer 1st Class Chad Lawler’s face, he hardly feels his sore and achy muscles. He feels a sense of pride, a victory the crew has within themselves and the uniform they bear as the 41-foot utility boat heads home. The long journey back to the station is worth the accomplishment the entire team feels knowing they finished 5th place in the Men’s Health Urbanathalon.

On Sept. 29, the crew of Coast Guard Station Philadelphia took their daily routine to a new level when members participated in the 2nd annual Men’s Health Urbanathlon held in New York City. The station registered two teams to participate in the one-day race and obstacle course to support the Challenged Athletes Foundation and to help raise awareness for “Shape Up New York,” a fitness program designed to encourage the development of a healthy lifestyle.

The crew of the station decided to transit to Manhattan, N.Y., using their 41-foot utility boat. Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas Simonds volunteered to pilot the vessel to Manhattan and spent several weeks gathering charts, information and contacting Coast Guard units along the way to ensure a smooth and safe transit. Sept. 27, the crew departed the station and transited the Delaware River through Cape May, N.J., stopping at Coast Guard Station Manasquan, N.J., to refuel. The crew proceeded north to Coast Guard Station Shark River, in Avon by the Sea, N.J., where its crewmembers expressed generous hospitality by putting the Philadelphia crew up for the night. The Station Philadelphia crewmembers arrived in Manhattan Sept. 28 and stayed at Coast Guard Sector New York for the duration of the trip.

The 7.6-mile race began at 7 a.m. the following day in Central Park. Participants headed west to Riverside Park then went south down the Westside bike path to the skyscraper climb at Seven World Trade Center to complete 52 flights of stairs up and back down. The racer’s continued south to Battery Park City and finished at Battery Park where a health fair was being held.

Team #1 included third class petty officers Darren Kardos, Eran Willis and Troy Jesensky, who took 5th place out of the 100 teams who participated. Team #2 included first class petty officers Chad Lawler and Robert Cummins, and Fireman David Goree who took 68th place.

The crew participated in the event for morale, team support and leadership.

“This took a lot of team effort and support from the station and other units.” said Kardos. “It was definitely worth it.”

The personnel who stayed back at the station were reduced to minimum crews, and those members took extra duty to maintain and operate the station. During the weekend the event took place, the crew of Coast Guard Station Philadelphia saved four lives during a search-and-rescue case and conducted several law enforcement boarding’s.

“It was great our teams finished this race, but it was not just about them,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Bill Stubbe, a crewmember who remained at the station. “It took our entire crew to come together as a whole to allow our teams to participate, and that’s what it’s about – unity and leadership.”

The crew of Coast Guard Station Philadelphia will be looking into other races, walks and events to participate in for community services and health and well being. “This event was encouragement to our crewmembers to start getting involved,” Goree said. “It just makes you feel good. I would do it again.”

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