The City Center District officially launched a campaign Tuesday designed to show appreciation for the United States Coast Guard and the various services it has based in New London.
The ceremony kicking off the campaign took place at , which has proposed as an ideal site for a national Coast Guard museum. Speakers at the event vowed to support the Coast Guard in its mission, including finding a way to keep services offered at the in the city.
Todd O’Donnell, a commissioner with the City Center District, said the effort was proposed as a way to show that property and business owners in the city are proud of the leadership cultivated at the Coast Guard Academy and other functions of the service.
“We do want them to grow and expand in our town,” he said.
Tony Sheridan, president of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut, said he was impressed by the cadets he met sailing on the tall ship Eagle, which he said is a major asset to the city. The Chamber organized a trip to Waterford, Ireland, to meet the ship on the first leg of a , and Sheridan said another trip will visit the ship in New Orleans at the start of its OpSail 2012 trip.
“We’re incredibly proud of the Coast Guard and all the things you represent,” said Sheridan.
Dr. Nicholas Fischer, superintendent of the , said the Coast Guard Academy provides tutors and mentors to help students at all levels. He said the academy is also a source of inspiration for the students who visit there.
“They go to classes. They see what rigor looks like,” said Fischer. “They see what good science, mathematics, engineering classes look like. I’ve got to tell you, that’s invaluable.”
Mary Ellen Jukoski, president of , said the two campuses have cooperated in the past. She said cadets have taken English as a Second Language courses at Mitchell and have also helped with projects such as restoring Mitchell Beach.
“We must continue to be good neighbors and help provide opportunities for the Coast Guard to meet its needs,” she said.
The Coast Guard Academy sought to purchase a portion of to expand its campus and construct a shipboard center and multicultural center, but the sale was . The academy is now considering relocating some services provided by the academy outside of the city.
Mayor Daryl Finizio said he has started discussions with Rear Admiral Sandra Stosz, superintendent of the Coast Guard Academy, to find ways that the Coast Guard can meet its expansion needs within New London.
“I assure the people of New London that in the end the city will do what is necessary for the academy to meet its mission,” he said.
Stosz said the city and Coast Guard Academy have had a 100-year history of cooperation and that she is looking forward to continuing it.
“We’re thrilled to have a mission of love and a mission of protection today, and we thank you very much for your support and your love,” said Stosz.
Details of the “NL (heart) USCG” campaign
The City Center District will be collecting Valentine’s Day cards for Coast Guard Academy cadets and Coast Guard personnel at several businesses. Students at the New London Public Schools will also be making cards, and all of them will be delivered on Valentine’s Day.
Posters and decals expressing support for the Coast Guard can be picked up at the and . The following businesses are accepting cards, and other businesses may participate by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org: