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My Coast Guard
Commentary | March 26, 2024

Coast Guard Ombudsmen, We Thank You

By Keisha Reynolds, MyCG Writer

Today, we collectively give thanks to the more than 300 individuals who selflessly serve as a bridge to belonging and accessibility for many Coast Guard families. 

March 26 marks our 38th annual recognition of Coast Guard Ombudsman Appreciation Day. The command ombudsmen are official volunteers who advocate for Coast Guard families and serve as vital communication links between them and the command. They provide guidance when families face the challenges of deployments, family emergencies, or need to be connected to key resources — they assist and answer the call, time and time again. 

“I am extremely passionate about our ombudsman program. As a Coast Guard spouse for over 28 years, I understand the unique challenges our Coast Guard families experience,” said the Coast Guard’s Ombudsman-at-Large Carol Jones. “Picking up and moving your entire life to an unknown area creates stress and anxiety.” 

“Our ombudsmen,” she added, “deal with their own stress but take on the responsibility to help other families find necessary resources and also act as a sounding board for family concerns. Day in and day out, they stand the watch and take care of our families. Thank you for your willingness to do what you do and keep advocating for our families. You matter!” 

The program was established on March 26, 1986, by Adm. James S. Gracey, the Coast Guard’s 17th Commandant, and the program has become one of the strongest components of the service’s family support network.   

Leaders encouraged commands to host functions to express gratitude for our Coast Guard ombudsmen and their families today. Your command can offer details about this or any future activities and Health Safety, and Work-Life Ombudsman Coordinators can also assist. For more information, please contact Atlantic Area Regional Ombudsman Coordinator Lori Gordy or Pacific Area Regional Ombudsman Coordinator Ryan Fahlenkamp

Christine Degraw, the Ombudsman program manager, emphasizes this day’s significance. “Showing appreciation to the individuals who selflessly serve as front-line ambassadors to our families is incredibly important.” 

"Through their continuous support, our ombudsmen connect our families to resources, provide a listening ear when needed, and enhance the everyday lives of Coast Guard families, which benefits the workforce at large. Today is the perfect time to extend gratitude to your command Ombudsman.” 

Interested in volunteering to be an ombudsman or want to learn more about ways you can support your ombudsman? Visit the Ombudsman Program. For more information about the ombudsman program, contact either the Atlantic Area Regional Ombudsman Coordinator, Lori Gordy or the Pacific Area Regional Ombudsman Coordinator, Ryan Fahlenkamp.