Written by Petty Officer 2nd Class Nicholas Ameen, 7th Coast Guard District public affairs.
With more than 12,000 miles of coastline in the United States, every mariner has a responsibility to look after one another. This principle of being a shipmate is also true on land, as one Miami woman has shown through her unwavering devotion to strengthen her community through selfless service and tremendous generosity.
On a Monday morning in the 7th Coast Guard District Commander’s office, a group of people—uniformed and civilian—are gathered sharing stories, reminiscing and looking toward the future. They are here to recognize the accomplishments of Elaine Sevin, president of 7-Dippity, Inc., a non-profit organization whose mission is creating and implementing innovative educational programs as well as delivery techniques that promote environmental protection with school age children and adults. But it’s Sevin’s selfless service to the Coast Guard that has made this day possible.
Sevin received the Coast Guard Meritorious Public Service Award in recognition of her support to the Coast Guard’s environmental protection mission, the Sea Partners Campaign, and her tireless efforts to advance environmental stewardship. Additionally, she has donated tens of thousands of dollars worth of materials to tailor presentations to specific maritime ecosystems, which addressed critical environmental topics such as the importance of protecting coral reef habitats, problems with nonpoint sources of pollution and the dangers of aquatic nuisance species.
The Coast Guard maintains several public service awards to recognize private citizens, groups or organizations for helping the Coast Guard carry out its missions. The Coast Guard Meritorious Public Service Award is the second highest public service award after the Coast Guard Distinguished Public Service Award. It is given to recognize unusual courage in advancing a Coast Guard mission, a substantial contribution to the Coast Guard that produced tangible results or specific individual accomplishments that provide unique benefits to the public.
“The most notable contributions, of course, have come from my extended family, the Coasties in this room and those who could not be here,” Sevin stated during the ceremony. “Over the past 18 years, you have welcomed me and my family into your organization. I have learned a lot about water pollution from you and about the amazing contributions the Coast Guard makes every day in protecting our environment, safety and lives.”
Furthermore, as the assistant national coordinator for the Officer Snook Program, an idea created by her daughter, Jennifer, in 1993 for the purpose of educating children about the causes, effects and solutions to water pollution, she has volunteered countless hours participating in hundreds of community events and conducting thousands of school presentations.
“Through their innovative, educational approach to our youth, Mrs. Sevin and her daughter, Jennifer, have created a program that will protect and improve our environment for decades to come,” said Rear Adm. Bill Baumgartner, 7th Coast Guard District commander.
The award itself is but a mere symbol of the Coast Guard’s appreciation to Sevin and her family. The paper the citation is printed on may one day fade, but the impact the Sevin family has made on their community and the Coast Guard will live on.