The Coast Guard proudly recognizes the month of May as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. This designation honors both Asian and Pacific Islander Americans for their contributions and sacrifices in advancing our great nation. This year’s theme is, “I Am Beyond.” The phrase captures the aspirations of the American spirit, how Americans of Asian and Pacific Islander descent have always sought to excel beyond the challenges that have limited equal opportunity in America.
Written by Petty Officer 3rd Class Cynthia Oldham
Deciding to join the Coast Guard and leave Guam was not a difficult decision for Blas.
“Guam is a beautiful Pacific Island but it is a very small place,” Blas said. “I was 23 years old when I joined the Coast Guard and ready to see and experience new places. The Coast Guard gave me this opportunity.”
Serving as a yeoman, the Coast Guard’s name for an administrative specialist, Blas is a critical behind-the-scenes component to keeping his Coast Guard shipmates always ready.
Blas works in the air station’s servicing personnel office, where yeomen administratively take care of the air station’s 254 crewmembers, focusing heavily on customer service.
“Blas emulates our core values and yeoman guiding principles,” said Chief Petty Officer Barbie Ogo, supervisor of the air station’s administrative department. “His dedication to provide the best customer service, professionalism, proficiency in rating, and community outreach sets a fine example for those around him to follow. His extreme optimism is very contagious!”
Blas said his passion for customer service began in Guam before he joined the Coast Guard.
“Coming from from the University of Guam with a degree in economics and finance, I started work at the Bank of Guam, where I attribute learning customer service skills,” Blas said. “I wanted to expand on my love of helping people, which is how I ended up being a Coast Guard yeoman.”
While serving in South Jersey, Blas is expanding his love of service throughout the community.
Blas is a full-time student at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey where he is member of the college’s Student Veterans Organization. Blas serves on the executive board of the SVO as the leader of public relations.
“Stockton has one of the best student veteran organizations in the country,” Blas said. “It’s a place where students who are active duty service members can get together and focus on their educations, conquer stress and share their experiences.”
Blas said SVO members recently visited with veterans who live in a local nursing home.
“While we were at the nursing home, the veterans all really enjoyed talking about their military experiences,” Blas said. “We are working on making this a monthly event for hospice patients there.”
Blas is also an active member of the school’s Pride Alliance Club, a student-run organization focused on bringing a sense of unity, power and leadership among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, and any student who aspires to be an activist.
“We all absolutely love Carl,” said Kristen Murphy Slagle, co-president of the Pride Alliance Club. “We are so happy to have him with us. He brings us a different perspective, having served and coming from an area other than New Jersey. Stockton itself is predominantly Caucasian, so he naturally adds more culture to a club that is trying to bring up issues of diversity.”
Additionally, Blas attends Fusion Church, in Somers Point, New Jersey, where Sunday evenings, he donates food for the community’s youth.
“Every Sunday night, I donate food to the youth group at Fusion Church,” Blas said. “I truly believe the youth here can grow up to be comfortable in who they are. I speak with them, share my story and hope to encourage them to be well-rounded and eager to explore the world.”
Although Blas is Chamorro, a term for someone born and raised in Guam, he feels he vibes well off the people who live in New Jersey.
Blas said he feels the people who live in New Jersey are very vocal and stand up for what they believe is right. Having a strong voice and using it for good is something Blas said he strongly believes in regardless of where his Coast Guard career takes him.