My Coast Guard

Honor Guard members donate uniform shoes to help others put best foot forward

By Seaman Annika Hirschler, Ceremonial Honor Guard

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Honor Guard members Seaman Emily Floyd and Seaman Kinley Wurl saw a greater potential for these shoesTwo Honor Guard members donated dozens of gently used dress shoes to a local menswear clothing closet.

The shoes are a welcome accessory donated to the stylists of Sharp Dressed Man to help their patrons complete a new, polished look. The organization provides job-seekers a one-on-one styling experience, complete with a hand selected suit and accessories to wear to interviews and more formal occasions. Access to a suit removes any barriers in the interview or employment process. 

The United States Coast Guard functions as a life-saving service and members of the Coast Guard set themselves apart by their deep desire to help people. This is no exception in the U.S. Coast Guard Ceremonial Honor Guard, a first duty station for many seamen coming out of boot camp at Cape May, New Jersey. Honor Guardsmen promote the mission, protect the Honor Guard standard, perfect the craft, and preserve the heritage of the organization. 

The Ceremonial Honor Guard’s demanding training program prepares members for the physically and often emotionally strenuous missions, frequently conducted in the harshest conditions, requiring incredible stamina and physical endurance.  Two Honor Guard members donated dozens of gently used dress shoes to a local menswear clothing closet.

Uniform items – right down to the shoes - are always kept polished and perfect. Honor Guard shoes have clicked and clacked down Pennsylvania Avenue for inaugurations, slid into place on the narrow steps at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and treaded over hallowed ground in Arlington National Cemetery. 

What happens to these striking shoes when an Honor Guardsman hangs up their ceremonial uniform for their operational dress uniforms (ODU)? Sometimes the shoes are put away into the uniform archives, hoping to one day return to ceremonial duty. But other times, these shoes remain unused.

Honor Guard members Seaman Emily Floyd and Seaman Kinley Wurl saw a greater potential for these shoes, “Those shoes are good quality, at a certain point have to be left behind and unused. Those shoes could still be good for someone else.” Floyd said.  

Prior to joining the Coast Guard, Floyd worked in a conservation corps restoring national and state parks. With plans to pursue the marine science technician path, she wanted the Honor Guard to avoid excess waste. 

Before taking the shoes to Baltimore, Floyd and Wurl recruited the assistance of Seaman Jonathan Brau and Seaman Nathaniel Freeland who used their leather working tools from home combined with some elbow grease, to revamp, disinfect, and renew these shoes in order to prepare them for a new home.