Written by Petty Officer 2nd Class Rob Simpson.
Coast Guard Ombudsmen are spouses of Coast Guard members who volunteer as a link between commands and families. Ombudsmen assist commanding officers by voicing the concerns and welfare of the unit’s families and to help prepare families for emergency situations. In the 1st Coast Guard District, 41 – and growing! – ombudsmen currently serve families, and in honor of today we are featuring just a few of these amazing spouses who give up so much of their time for us. Thank you for everything you do!
Amanda Gornik, Coast Guard Cutter Spencer
“I volunteer because I care about people! I know that if the families are cared for well, then the crew has less to worry about while they are away so they can focus on the important job at hand. I enjoy getting to know each crewmember and their families. I am a better, more educated Coast Guard wife and I hope to continue helping others with the continued knowledge I am obtaining from this experience.” – Amanda Gornik
Amber Clark, Coast Guard Base Boston
“I volunteer because I felt drawn to do so. Knowing that I can help a family or spouse in need is unique to our lives in the Coast Guard. We lead a life many wouldn’t understand. To be able to lift someone up and help them adjust, help them in a crisis or help them celebrate an achievement is like nothing else.” – Amber Clark
Heidi Seger, Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba
“I volunteer because I know both sides of the coin. I was active duty for 10 years and I know how hard it is leaving your family behind and I wanted to be able to help others get through patrols. I am honored that the command chose me to be the ombudsman. I have a desire to help not only junior members with the transition into cutter life, but every now and then the seasoned wives need a hand too and I like being able to lend that helping hand. I love getting to know our families on the ship and being able to share my experience is a great feeling. I love seeing all the families on the pier to welcome our Coasties home from long patrols. I love sharing their good times and being there for the not so good times that we all face.” – Heidi Seger
Laura Corcoran, Coast Guard Sector Boston
“I volunteer for two primary reasons: First, Sector Boston never had an ombudsman before, and as a Boston native and a career process engineer, I felt I was uniquely qualified to help the command establish a successful program as well as meet the needs of our families. Second, I wanted to learn more about my husband’s career and the service he chose to dedicate himself to, and I believe there is no better way to learn than to get inside and get involved!” – Laura Corcoran
Leah Simpson, 1st Coast Guard District
“I believe volunteerism is good for the soul. It teaches you to be more than just a passing bystander, but an active part of your community. I feel satisfied and enriched if I’ve done something to make this a better place for the next family. If I have the ability and opportunity to make another person’s life easier, I’ll do it. The fact that I’m helping other Coasties is an added bonus! Throughout my time as ombudsman, I’ve had the chance to meet so many wonderful people that I would have never met otherwise. I’ve yet to meet a person unwilling to offer help or lend a hand. I’ve witnessed how large and sprawling our support system is, and I’m proud to now be a part of it.” – Leah Simpson