Many Coast Guard members said it was “an honor” to be selected for this year’s parade and the Coast Guard Festival is the highlight of their year.
“This is amazing — there is no better place (for the festival),” said Rear Admiral Joanna Nunan, who oversees Coast Guard operations in the Great Lakes area. “We appreciate Grand Haven every day.”
The U.S. Coast Guard dignitaries were provided with breakfast at the United Methodist Church of the Dunes before staging for the opening section of the parade. Prior to the start of the parade,all of the dignitaries were honored as they traversed the parade route in classic convertables.
Nunan oversees more than 3,000 U.S. Coast Guard auxiliary members, and says she couldn’t “run without them.” Auxiliary members volunteer for their duty, which includes everything except law enforcement.
“This is really exciting for us and we feel very appreciated,” said National Commodore Rick Washburn, who is in charge of the some 25,000 national auxiliary members. “This is the biggest and the best event for us. Other (events) don’t come close to Grand Haven.”
Susan Ludwig, president of the Coast Guard Foundation which supports the men and women of the Coast Guard, said it is incredible to have all the members of the Coast Guard honored with a parade of this magnitude.
“They should be very honored,” Ludwig said. “This is incredible.”