Written by Petty Officer 2nd Class Diana Honings
When most people think of the Coast Guard, they immediately associate the words with orange and white helicopters, search and rescue heroes and cutter crews offloading huge blocks of cocaine from drug busts. But behind all of the exciting action are the Coast Guardsmen who support the service – people like Petty Officer 1st Class Tara Canny.
Canny, a native of Roswell, New Mexico, is a 12-year veteran of the Coast Guard who serves in Coast Guard Base Elizabeth City as a storekeeper. It’s hard-working people like Canny who keep the Coast Guard running.
Canny comes from a family of Coast Guardsmen and was previously stationed aboard Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell out of San Diego, Integrated Support Command Seattle, Group Port Angeles, Washington, and Station Neah Bay, Washington.
Cited for her “can-do” attitude and leadership abilities, Canny was recently awarded the Coast Guard Chief Financial Officers Award for Excellence as well as being nominated for the Douglas A. Munro Award for Inspirational Leadership.
“It’s great to see her accomplishments highlighted,” said Cmdr. Bruce Brown, commanding officer, Base Elizabeth City. “She is a true professional.”
As a storekeeper, Canny was responsible for managing 23 accounts and more than $30 million during fiscal year 2014 as well as overseeing more than $132 million in property and inventory. Her diligent oversight resulted in more than $65,000 in recycling funds through recycling 42,000 gallons of used oil, 506,474 pounds of scrap metal and 36,160 pounds of cardboard. These funds bolstered safety, environmental health, and unit morale, welfare and recreational services for Base Elizabeth City and tenant commands.
Through a healthy support system both at home and at work, she was able to balance her workload accordingly.
“Sometimes you have to stay late to finish the work,” said Canny. “But it’s all a part of the job.”
Her commitment to the job certainly contributed to her nomination and subsequent win of the Chief Financial Officer’s Award. On top of managing the many accounts, she also took on a leadership role during a robust transfer season leading to four newly qualified junior officers of the day, eight qualified officers of the day and seven qualified command duty officers.
“I believe that the ability to inspire and commit are strong qualities in a leader,” said Canny. “If you expect your team to work hard, you’re going to need to lead by example. A great motivating factor for your team is working alongside everyone else, and showing that the hard work is being done on every level. Proving your commitment will instill that same hardworking energy among your peers. As a leader, it is part of your job to keep the morale up, and that begins by acknowledging the work that everyone has dedicated, and showing appreciation for the hard work that’s being done.”
Ever conscious of her responsibilities within the comptroller and procurement division, Canny lead and mentored a team of six storekeepers resulting in the successful advancement of five storekeepers to the next higher pay grade.
“Do your job and do it to the best of your ability,” advised Canny. “Whether you’re specializing in property, procurement or reconciliation – be the best storekeeper you can be. Be creative and innovative in your field of expertise, and make it your own.”
While being a storekeeper may not be the glitziest part of the Coast Guard, it’s certainly a very important role. As such, Canny’s award was rightly deserved.
“I was very proud and honored to be recognized for the work that I’ve done,” said Canny. “I am very honored and humbled that my supervisors think so highly of me that they would nominate me for such an award.”