Written by Chief Warrant Officer Scott Epperson.
Coast Guard missions make a difference in communities in our nation, providing safety and security essential to safeguarding America. But while the service ensures a safe and secure nation on duty, Coast Guard men and women ensure a safe and secure community off duty as well.
Chief Warrant Officer Troy Riedel of the Coast Guard’s Leadership and Development Center in New London, Conn., is one of those Coast Guardsmen.
For the past three years, while assigned to the Leadership Development Center, Riedel maintained a close rapport with the manager and staff of the Women’s Center of Southeastern Connecticut. The Women’s Center plays a vital role in the community, as they provide a safe haven for homeless or battered women and their children.
Over a three-year-period Riedel not only volunteered his own time, but he also led a number of teams of chief warrant officer professional development students – more than 100 students in all – in making major renovations to the Women’s Center’s residential homes.
Through his efforts, the Coast Guard volunteers amassed more than 900 volunteer hours, saving the Center more than $10,000 in labor and contracting costs – projects that would have otherwise been abandoned because of a lack of funds.
Whether it was painting, demolition and reconstruction, replacing wood and tile flooring or installing shelving units in the kitchen and living areas, Riedel made sure that repairs were made professionally so the shelter’s inhabitants had a comfortable place to live. He also personally ensured that winterizing of the shelters was done annually by removing air-conditioner units, insulating pipes from the freezing temperatures, and a number of other contributions to the center.
“Coast Guardsmen have a commonality – we all desire to be part of something bigger than ourselves,” said Riedel. “There are few greater honors than serving and helping those less fortunate.”
Through his efforts, more than 150 homeless women and children had a safe environment to live in and more than 5,900 domestic violence survivors seeking assistance had a place to call.
Riedel said his efforts could not have been possible without a collection of very talented chief warrant officers and colleagues who assisted him along the way. But that’s what it’s all about; coming together as a team to help out the community.
“I challenge every Coast Guardsmen – especially my fellow chief warrant officers – to donate their time and expertise to a worthy organization in their area,” said Riedel.