20-Sep-2016 Source: Association for Rescue at Sea
A U.S. Coast Guard rescue swimmer, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary member, a cruise ship crew and the crew of a maritime academy training ship will be formally recognized at the annual Association for Rescue at Sea (AFRAS) awards ceremony and reception in Washington D.C.
Petty Officer Benjamin Cournia, a helicopter rescue swimmer who will receive the Vice Admiral Thomas Sargent III Gold Medal, saved 12 lives after the crew of a commercial ship had to abandon their sinking vessel during a hurricane in the Caribbean. Auxiliarist Patrick Porter saved two lives during a regatta that included more than 35,000 people on a six-mile stretch of the Colorado River. The crew of the Holland America cruise ship Veendam saved the life of a civilian pilot who ditched his aircraft hundreds of miles from Hawaii. The crew of the Maine Maritime Academy training ship State of Maine saved a mariner whose boat was taking on water more than 500 miles from the coast of Halifax, Canada.
Congressmen Duncan Hunter and John Garamendi will host the Capitol Hill event on Sep. 21, 2016, at the Rayburn House Office Building. Members of Congress, senior Coast Guard, MARAD and industry leaders, including Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard Adm. Charles D. Michel, will join the AFRAS Board of Directors to bestow medals and awards to these heroes who went above and beyond the call of duty to save lives at sea in 2015.
AFRAS helps protect mariners from the perils of the sea by providing monetary and in-kind donations to world volunteer maritime search and rescue organizations. The charity also recognizes and honors extraordinary maritime rescues through an awards program and annual ceremony. AFRAS is a 501(c)3 non-profit charity.