Once a month, Coast Guard All Hands will feature “ Dear Coast Guard Family ,” a column for Coast Guard families by Coast Guard spouse Rachel Conley. Rachel is married to her high school sweetheart, Chief Warrant Officer James Conley, and is the mother of three children. Rachel passionately serves as a Coast Guard Ombudsman and advocate of Coast Guard families. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the United States Coast Guard Ombudsman of the Year Award.
Written by Rachel Conley
The Coast Guard Ombudsman Program is my passion! I began serving my beloved Coast Guard community as an Ombudsman almost nine years ago, and without a doubt, this opportunity will forever be one of the greatest honors of my life!
The Ombudsman Program connects Coast Guard families to the command, the Coast Guard, and the many resources that are available.
Coast Guard ombudsmen serve as official members of the unit’s Command staff – ensuring that both the command and the families have access to a professional representative and liaison. Ombudsmen are the official conduit by which information flows from the Coast Guard and unit commands to Coast Guard families, keeping families informed and up-to-date on essential information.
Ombudsmen also serve as resource specialists, providing referrals that support spouses who are seeking employment, dual military couples in search of childcare, PCSing families looking for safe and affordable housing, and so much more!
It doesn’t stop there – ombudsmen are working to ensure that families are prepared for the next hurricane, winter storm, or flood – and responding to those tragedies when they do occur.
When units deploy, ombudsmen stand watch over the homefront, assisting families when needs arise. During every phase and cycle – from basic training, to reintegration, to retirement, Coast Guard ombudsmen stand “Semper Paratus” – Always Ready!
Our ombudsmen are volunteers – but, I can guarantee you – some of the most important roles in life don’t come with a paycheck. Their value cannot be measured in dollars, but it can be measured by their incredible impact. Ombudsmen serve members and families in their most joyful moments and during their most challenging – the loss of a loved one, a cancer diagnosis, or perhaps they’ve spoken to someone who has or will contemplate suicide – our ombudsmen are changing lives, and, they’re saving lives. Ombudsmen truly embody “Duty to People,” one of our commandant’s guiding principles.
In celebration of these invaluable contributions to the U.S. Coast Guard, March 26th is designated as Ombudsman Appreciation Day. If you’re interested, please leave a message of appreciation for your ombudsman in the comment section below!
And, if you haven’t already provided your contact information to your unit’s ombudsman, please do so! You can contact your ombudsman here. They’ll be thrilled to hear from you!
The views expressed herein are those of the author and are not to be construed as official or reflecting the views of the Commandant or of the U.S. Coast Guard.