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    Kodiak MWR programs recognized for contributions to Coast Guard community

    Kodiak MWR programs recognized for contributions to Coast Guard community

    Photo By Petty Officer 3rd Class Janessa-Reyanna Warschkow | Kodiak Morale Well-Being and Recreation Division (MWR) personnel and volunteers...... read more read more

    KODIAK, Alaska – In September 2020 and 2021, the Kodiak Morale Well-Being and Recreation Division (MWR) program received the Large Unit Ashore MWR Program of the year for the fiscal year 2019 and 2020.

    The success of the Kodiak MWR program is carried out by the dedicated women and men who manage and operate the MWR program.

    “Many thanks go out to Rick Carman and the entire MWR staff,” said Capt. Edward J. Hernaez, the commanding officer of Coast Guard Base Kodiak. “MWR is the centerpiece of our quality of life here in Kodiak and our MWR staff puts forth so much dedication and commitment to ensure that our Kodiak Coast Guard community is taken care of.”

    U.S. Coast Guard Base Kodiak is the largest Coast Guard base with a shore infrastructure value worth over 2.8 billion and over 3,500 active duty, retired military, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) civilians, and dependents in the area. Kodiak Island is located approximately 250 miles southwest of Anchorage and is the second largest island belonging to the United States. Due to its remote location away from the 48 contiguous United States, Kodiak Island is considered an Outside Continental U.S. (OCONUS) duty station.

    MWR programs provide activities to support the quality of life and mental health of Active Duty members and their families. This includes USCG, DoD personnel, retired military, and federal employees on the island. They also provide moral support to visiting ships, cutters, and contractor personnel.

    Rick Carman, the Kodiak MWR Director, expresses the importance of the MWR programs in Kodiak and Alaska because of the challenges that members and their families face when they arrive in Kodiak. Some can experience culture shock in dealing with the extreme weather, the isolation of living on a remote island, dark winter months, being far away from family and friends, and with limited varieties in typical amenities like medical/clinical specialists, shopping, restaurants, auto maintenance centers, child care, entertainment, and activities.

    The Kodiak MWR program is designated as a regional MWR program responsible for 20 Coast Guard units throughout Alaska, 11 of which are located in Kodiak. As a regional program they facilitate and audit morale fund distributions to those units and support the Capital Improvement Fund and Coast Guard Foundation Shipmate Fund distributions to units within Alaska.

    The Kodiak MWR team includes over 100 employees and a large group of volunteers that support the operations. They operate as a team with a diverse group of management styles and each provides ideas and support for all implemented activities.

    Carman acknowledges his team's efforts and says the managers and support staff have a clear understanding of the importance of what MWR Kodiak needs to provide to help the Coast Guard community get through the long, hard winter months and long spousal deployments. Managing all these activities and facilities requires flexibility and the ability to adjust operations quickly due to available resources and operational conditions, like inclement weather and the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Kodiak MWR currently runs more than 19 programs year-round and multiple events seasonally. The Northern Lights Recreation Facility (fitness center and pool), adult athletic program, Child Development Center, Information Tickets and Tours (ITT), youth activities, Tsunami Bowling Center, Boat House, Auto Hobby shop, and Guest House lodging are just a few of the programs Kodiak MWR is responsible for.

    The boat house offers a variety of rentals ranging from camping and fishing equipment and gear to household management tools like lawnmowers, weed whackers and carpet cleaners.

    Coast Guard Seaman Luke Bowman rents a 23-foot Pacific Skiff from the boat house whenever he has a day of liberty.

    “I’ve rented a boat from the boat house and took it out fishing a few times,” said Bowman. “I am an avid fisherman and I’ve caught halibut, salmon, cod and rockfish. It’s very fun during the summer months in Kodiak.”

    Kodiak MWR personnel also host seasonal events for every age group to boost morale and strengthen relationships within the Coast Guard community. In the summer, they pass out free ice cream around the four government housing locations. In the winter, they host pie drive through events where base residents can pick up a free slice of pie. Winter Wonderland is a holiday event where staff and volunteers decorate the Northern Lights Recreation Facility. Families can do a walking tour through the gym and then ride inflatable boats pulled by rescue swimmers to view decorations at the pool.

    “We have used almost all the MWR facilities and I loved attending some of the evening workout classes that were offered,” said Rena Rankin, a middle school teacher and Coast Guard spouse. “I was thankful there were classes after the normal workday hours and most of them were free, which was awesome. We loved utilizing the family swim times on the weekends. It was nice to have a place to teach our daughters how to swim. My husband has used the auto hobby shop to work on his truck. It was nice to utilize this facility with limited options on the island.”

    Despite the limitations the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on the MWR’s capabilities, the women and men who manage and operate the different programs found safe solutions while abiding by the Center for Disease Control recommendations. They limited the number of people using facilities, implemented temperature checks and enacted temporary closures for cleaning to ensure the safety of the Coast Guard community they serve.

    Carman and the rest of the MWR staff, Linda Pena, the Business Branch Chief, Rachael Dyer, the Community Support 1 Branch Chief, Chief Petty Officer Tim Stamm, the Community Support 2 Branch Chief, the former Child Development Center Director and Assistant Director Heather Russell and Jean Silva, are all proud to be recognized with this award for a second time.

    “The back-to-back win is a testament to the MWR and CDC staff’s ability to take feedback, problem solve, evaluate programs and change programs/facilities to support customers and operational conditions,” said Carman. “For 2020, COVID-19 protocols required staff to think differently about the delivery of services and operation of facilities. The multiple wins are validation to our team that we are one of the best MWR programs in the Coast Guard. We are very proud of the MWR program in Kodiak and strive to provide the best programs and facilities we can manage given the resources we have available."

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 01.20.2022
    Date Posted: 01.21.2022 13:30
    Story ID: 413184
    Location: KODIAK, AK, US 

    Web Views: 289
    Downloads: 1

    PUBLIC DOMAIN