Coast Guard honors Chatham Auxiliarist for 20,000 hours of volunteer service

Senior Chief Petty Officer Carlos Hessler (left), officer in charge of Coast Guard Station Chatham, displays a sign that will reserve a special parking space at the facility for long-serving Auxiliarist Larry Foss, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018. Foss was honored for contributing more than 20,000 hours of volunteer service over the past 17 years. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Senior Chief Petty Officer Carlos Hessler (left), officer in charge of Coast Guard Station Chatham, displays a sign that will reserve a special parking space at the facility for long-serving Auxiliarist Larry Foss, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

The United States Coast Guard has honored a long-serving member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary’s Chatham Flotilla for contributing more than 20,000 hours of volunteer service over the past 17 years.

Larry Foss, who relocated to Chatham in 2000 and joined the Auxiliary a year later, serves as a communications watchstander at the landmark local Coast Guard station where he has helped to man the “comms” watch room for thousands of four to eight-hour shifts. Watchstanders answer telephone and radio calls from recreational boaters, local fishermen and Coast Guard units; monitor and respond to emergency channels; issue weather and sea condition alerts; and operate as key team members of Coast Guard search and rescue operations when needed.

During his initial years at Coast Guard Station Chatham, Foss also served as a certified crew member on the unit’s motor lifeboats, and he has mentored scores of young Coast Guard crew members, helping them master the skills and techniques needed to become competent and qualified in their lifesaving profession. As a retired investment banking executive, Foss also offers basic financial planning advice to shipmates, helping them to properly prepare for monetary and retirement goals.

“Those 20,000 hours work out to about 23 hours a week over the past nearly 18 years,” Coast Guard Capt. Christian Glander, commander of Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England, said at a reception held in Foss’ honor on December 18. “I thank you for all that you do for the station, for Sector Southeastern New England, and for your country. It is absolutely phenomenal.”

Glander presented Foss with an official Letter of Commendation from Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Karl L. Schultz marking his service milestone and numerous contributions. “By standing these hours of watch, you have allowed these active duty crewmen to dedicate more time for training, maintenance and operations,” Schultz wrote. “Your presence at Coast Guard Station Chatham is never taken for granted and is sincerely appreciated. You epitomize our core values of honor, respect and devotion to duty.”

Senior Chief Petty Officer Carlos Hessler, officer-in-charge at Station Chatham, had a similar evaluation of Foss’ input to the Coast Guard. “Larry Foss is a special guy,” Hessler said. “His standing watch is a huge help to us. And, his life experiences and his willingness to share them are so important to us, too. His involvement has impacted a lot of people over the past 17-plus years.”

Foss offered his thanks to all crewmembers that have served at Station Chatham during his time as a volunteer. “You are what makes it worthwhile to come in every day,” he told the group of attendees that included active duty and retired crewmembers from Station Chatham, Coast Guard sector officials, Chatham first responders and fellow Auxiliary members. “The support you have given me is greatly appreciated.”

“It has been great fun,” added Foss. “It’s a great group of people. I only wish that I had kept a list of everyone who has come through the Station over all of these years.”

The Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed volunteer component of the U.S. Coast Guard and supports the Coast Guard in nearly all its service missions. The Auxiliary was created by Congress in 1939. For more information, please visit www.cgaux.org

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