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Ruskin CG Auxiliary Flotilla celebrates 50 years of service

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USCG Auxiliary District Seven Commander Amos Johnson administers the oath of office to the Flotilla 75 staff officers.
MITCH TRAPHAGEN PHOTOS

By MITCH TRAPHAGEN

RUSKIN — The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, Flotilla 75, celebrated 50 years of service in Ruskin on Saturday night. The event, held at The Golf Club of Cypress Creek, included speakers remembering the past, as well as top officers who praised the flotilla’s present and future. The common theme of the night was the people involved who have made the organization a success.

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USCG Auxiliary member Marshall Cook, a former military veteran and fighter jet pilot, shares some of the Flotilla’s history during the 50th anniversary event.
Congress established the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary in 1939 with a legislative mandate to use civilian volunteers to promote safety on and over the high seas and the nation’s navigable waters. Through the decades, it has saved untold thousands of lives through boater education programs, patrols, and search and rescue operations. After September 11, 2001, national security was added to its mission.

“I am really proud of Flotilla 75,” said District 7 Commodore Allen Brown. “You have become such a strong part of District 7.”

Coast Guard Auxiliary District 7 includes Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, with Ruskin’s Flotilla 75 among the oldest in the district. The flotilla serves the region of Tampa Bay from the Alafia River to Port Manatee, supporting USCG Station St. Petersburg in a non-law enforcement capacity. Members are volunteers who furnish and maintain their own equipment. The flotilla is currently based out of the Ruskin Senior Center at 901 6th Street SE. During the evening, several members spoke of the hope of someday having their own permanent home base.

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U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary District 7 Commodore Allen Brown administers the oath of office to Flotilla Commander Alma Parrish and Vice Flotilla Commander Guy Mandigo.
The impact of the flotilla’s hard work and dedication is impossible to measure, but it is safe to say the waters enjoyed by everyone in South Hillsborough would be far less safe in their absence. The boater education programs and free vessel examinations alone have unquestionably saved lives through prevention.

With the motto Semper Paratus, meaning “always ready”, Ruskin’s Flotilla 75 joins more than 30,000 members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary nationwide in volunteering more than two million hours working to keep America’s boaters and their families safe.

For more information about Flotilla 75, or to find out about joining the Coast Guard Auxiliary, call 877-242-8975 or visit their website at www.cgaux75.org.

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