Leighton wins Coast Guard honor

NAWILIWILI — For Ann Leighton, Monday was just another day at the U.S. Coast Guard Station Kauai at Nawiliwili.

“I huli-ed my mountain bike,” Leighton said, pointing out the knee brace and scars that were evidence of her misfortune. “No one else saw, and fortunately, the uniform covers most of these.”

Leighton, garbed in her USCG uniform, was called out during Quarters to accept accolades from the U.S. Coast Guard.

“The Coast Guard Ombudsman Appreciation Day is on March 26,” said Michael Winiarski, the USCG Station Kauai Officer in Charge. “But March 26 was on Sunday so we’re honoring her today with several presentations, including a Certificate of Appreciation from Admiral Paul F. Zukunft, the U.S. Coast Guard Commandant, and some refreshments and flowers.”

The mission of the Coast Guard Ombudsman Program is to improve communication between the command and Coast Guard family members. They are communication links, providing information and referral resources, and act as advocates for family members.

“Each year, Coast Guard Ombudsmen donate countless hours in service,” Winiarski said. “As USCG Station Kauai Ombudsman, you are a member of an elite group and your compassion has positively influenced others.”

During the past three years, Leighton has spent more than 25 hours a week at the unit, serving as Ombudsman and Communication Watch Stander.

“This is a combined 2,700 hours of selfless volunteering,” Winiarski said.

During her tenure, Leighton has made contact with new members well in advance to guarantee a smooth transition to an overseas assignment.

“Your selfless actions have inspired those around you and ensured all new members and their dependents received a warm welcome and assistance in settling into the remote island unit,” Winiarski said. “We recognize you as a true ‘home front hero.’”

Leighton was surprised with the presentation of flowers, refreshments and the USCG coin.

“You all are the reason I love to come to the unit,” Leighton said. “If I am great, it’s because of you.”


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