Guardian of the Week – Mrs. Nichole McLeod, Ombudsman of the Year

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Post Written by Petty Officer Second Class Amir Lawal

Ombudsman: a person who acts as a trusted intermediary between an organization and some internal or external constituency while representing the broad scope of constituent interests.

From this definition you might be able to understand why this difficult to pronounce word carries such a huge meaning in the Coast Guard. Ombudsmen have always been a very important part of the Coast Guard family. They are the link between a Coast Guard command and the family members. An ombudsman can assist families in locating resources, communicate information from the command to the families, and take concerns of families to the command.

Nichole McLeod receives the "Ombudsman of the Year" award
Nichole McLeod receives the Ombudsman of the Year Award from the Commandant, Admiral Thad Allen

On September 9, 2009, the Coast Guard awarded the first ever Ombudsman of the Year Award to one outstanding person. Mrs. Nichole McLeod was the first to receive this great honor for her exceptional service as the Ombudsman for the Coast Guard Cutter Northland. She volunteered to be Northland’s Ombudsman to support her family while also helping the cutter’s crew and their families. During this time, Mrs. McLeod selflessly worked to enhance communications between the cutter and their families using social media and other creative methods. She also organized events for the crew and their families, which fostered familiarity and openness and strengthened the Northland community. Beyond her dedication to the Northland, Mrs. McLeod also provided her personal assistance to crewmembers from another local Coast Guard unit, CGC Tahoma, after the unexpected death of their Commanding Officer.

Mrs. McLeod feels that the duty of an ombudsman is to build a cohesive unit between the command and the crew. She spoke of an instance where she helped organize a family’s move out of a mold infested home while the member was underway. She said that if the family was not able to move out it would have added a tremendous amount of stress and worry to the member who could not be there to help. This is precisely why the volunteer ombudsmen are vital to a unit and a blessing to the Coast Guard. They perform selfless acts for the betterment of the crew and their family. Mrs. McLeod hopes that other ombudsmen continue to support the Coast Guard and their families with an open heart, honor and respect for the program.

Congratulations Mrs. Nichole McLeod on being our Guardian of the Week. Thank you for your service and dedication to the Coast Guard Ombudsman Program.

Do you know someone in the Coast Guard that has done something great for the service, the missions or the public? Please submit your nominations for Guardian of the Week using the submit button at the top of the page.

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