News: The power of impressions: revealing the future
LEAGUE CITY, Texas - As a child have you ever encountered anyone that made a profound impact on the rest of your life? Changed the way you thought of the world and what was in it? Perhaps it was an astronaut, a doctor or even an athlete. Maybe you don’t even remember the person’s name, but you remember looking up to them in awe. Even at that young age you knew that’s what you wanted to do, you wanted to make a difference; you wanted to change things. That is the kind of impression that Coast Guard members are hoping to make on students in schools all across the United States.
The Partnership in Education program is a Coast Guard wide outreach effort that lets unit members’ partner with local schools to talk and interact with students on a wide array of topics.
One of those units is the Coast Guard Cutter Dauntless, a 210-foot Medium Endurance Cutter based out of Galveston, Texas.
Throughout its distinguished history, Dauntless has compiled an impressive record of operational achievements, swiftly earning a reputation as one of the nations’ premier “drug busters” by becoming the first cutter in history to seize more than one million pounds of marijuana.
And by participating in the PIE program with local schools in the Galveston area, the crewmembers of the Dauntless are looking to accomplish an even greater achievement – changing lives.
Lt. Cmdr. Charles Kuebler is the executive officer of the Dauntless and one of many crewmembers that are involved with the PIE program.
“We started our PIE program with Gilmore Elementary School and have done three sessions so far,” Kuebler said. “Lt. j.g. Hudson, our public affairs officer, did a great job of working with the [Coast Guard Headquarters] staff and other local schools to get the program setup and established.”
Initially, Kuebler reached out to his son’s school to see if they were interested in letting some Coast Guard members work with the students.
“I reached out to my son’s third grade teacher and volunteered an hour a week,” said Kuebler. “The first time we met with the kids it was an introductory meeting. We went in and handed out some pencils and just started talking to them about the Coast Guard’s missions and I showed them some videos and pictures just to help demonstrate what we do.”
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of trying to teach children you know the key to helping them remember something is to keep them involved and entertained. So, Kuebler really pushed to help find subjects that the kids would naturally enjoy.
“To keep the kids interested we brought out Bert, a trained explosive-sniffing dog from Maritime Safety and Security Team Galveston, to give a demonstration to the school kids,” Kuebler said.
“When the kids saw the dog there was a lot clapping and oohs and aahs,” Kuebler stated. “We talked about the Coast Guard’s maritime security roles and missions. We also discussed working dog safety and animal safety in general.
The next meeting covered fire safety and how we fight fires at sea,” said Kuebler. “I introduced Petty Officer 1st Class Moran and Lt j.g. Cook. They are our two lead damage control folk aboard the Dauntless.”
After that introduction the Dauntless crew talked about a superfluity of subjects. Ranging from fires, to what firefighters do, to the importance of responding quickly, to fire safety in their homes and how they get out of their house.
“We also talked about what happens at sea when there’s a fire,” stated Kuebler. “We can’t call the fire department, instead we call people like Lt. j.g. Cook and DC1 Moran and they put on their own firefighting equipment and then they go into the space and fight the fire.”
The crewmembers of the Dauntless only have two more events before they have to get underway again. So their goal is to make the meetings as memorable as possible.
“The plan for the next visit is to have a couple of small boats from the Dauntless at the school so we can setup a static display and let the children check them out.,” Kuebler said. Then we will talk about water safety, personal floatation devices and things of that nature.”
“When we are done with the PIE program at Gilmore, I hope the kids learn to be aware of their surroundings and remember some of the things we taught them,” Kuebler said. “So, when something does happen, maybe they will remember what we talked about and it will help save their lives.”