How Station Portland saved Christmas

by Petty Officer Shawn Eggert

SEATTLE – They slithered and slunk, with smiles most unpleasant. Around the whole room, and they took every present. A team of grinches may have made off with the pop guns, bicycles, roller skates and drums, but the members of Coast Guard Station Portland and Sector Portland made sure the family of BM3 Amos Burger still got their checkerboard, tricycles, popcorn and plums.

Kristina Burger, Amos’ wife, was sleeping upstairs with their children, Adaira and Taiden, when someone broke into the family’s apartment in Vancouver, Wash., and absconded with nearly all their Christmas presents, a computer, an X-Box and Kristina’s purse. It wasn’t until hours later, that she woke to find a bare space below the tree and a hole drilled through the frame of a sliding glass door where the thieves had entered.

“The presents under the tree had been full, and I noticed there were none,” said Kristina. “There were only a couple left.”

“I rushed home as soon I heard,” said Amos, who had been standing duty at Station Portland, Ore. “The police took prints from the apartment and think it may have been two or three people. The thieves used my wife’s credit cards at gas stations and a Wal-Mart so the police are trying to track them that way.”

Amos told MK1 Josh Mckenzie, Station Portland’s Engineering Petty Officer, about the burglary before leaving, and Mckenzie immediately got to work raising money for the family.

“My first thought was to make sure those kids got a Christmas,” said Mckenzie. “I went around to every office, talked with all of the chiefs and raised about eight hundred dollars within three hours.”

Mckenzie delivered the money, along with some toys for the kids and a turkey, to Amos and his family who were, at first, apprehensive about the gift.

“They told me they couldn’t accept the money, and I told them ‘I’m not taking it back.'” Mckenzie said.

Amos has been stationed in Portland for only six months and the sudden and unsolicited generosity of his shipmates came as both a surprise and an affirmation of the Coast Guard’s loyalty to its members.

“I told my wife this is exactly why I joined the Coast Guard,” said Amos.

The thieves hadn’t stopped Christmas from coming. It came. Somehow or other, it came just the same. And thanks to the members of Station Portland and Sector Portland, BM3 Amos Burger still got to carve the roast beast.

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