District commander promotes boating safety in Chicago
Posted by PA2 George Degener, Thursday, June 2, 2011
Last week, as part of National Safe Boating Week, an annual observance sponsored by the National Safe Boating Council and endorsed by the Coast Guard, Rear Adm. Michael Parks, commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District, traveled to Chicago to participate in the Chicago Waterways Public Safety Campaign and the Memorial Day Wreath Laying Ceremony.
On the morning of May 26, Parks journeyed to Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, to promote the Coast Guard’s boating safety messages by appearing on the diamond and throwing out a ceremonial first pitch. After tossing a strike over the plate, Parks appeared at a press conference at Chicago’s Navy Pier. Representatives from Illinois, Indiana, the City Of Chicago, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Chicago-area boating community delivered their safety messages to members of the media gathered before them.
“We come together today with the Great City of Chicago, representative agencies from the states of Illinois and Indiana, national and regional leaders representing the commercial and recreational vessel communities, and representatives of the water safety community to raise awareness about the importance of water and boating safety,” said Parks.
“Through our combined efforts we will strive to ensure this campaign is successful in raising the public’s awareness of water and boating safety and ultimately strive to save lives in this cherished part of the Great Lakes.”
Parks also announced the Ninth Coast Guard District’s Great Lakes Recreational Boating and Water Safety Campaign Plan. This will establish the overall policy for recreational boating safety and water safety campaigns within the Great Lakes System.
Also while in Chicago, Parks represented the Coast Guard at Chicago’s Memorial Day Wreath Laying Ceremony and on the viewing stand during the parade. Alongside other service representatives, Parks marched behind JROTC students as they carried a wreath honoring those who have given their lives in sacrifice to their country.
Chicago-area Coast Guardsmen and Coast Guard auxiliarists participated in the celebrations. The annual Chicago Memorial Day Parade honors veterans, reserve and active-duty military personnel. It draws about 10,000 spectators every year and is considered one of the largest parades of its kind in the country.