As Coast Guardsmen we are constantly volunteering for many things. Sometimes it can be something as simple as helping each other move, and sometimes it’s something more involved like Partnership in Education work, high school mentorship, or visiting the local veteran’s home. It seems to be in our Coast Guard DNA to want to help others. But every once and a while someone takes volunteering to another level and goes above and beyond what is the average call. That person does not just volunteer for a day here or a day there, but is committed to a cause; a cause that truly effects not only the lives of the people being helped, but of the other volunteers that help along the way.
BOSN4 Troy Riedel of the Coast Guard’s Leadership and Development Center in New London Conn. is just one of those people.
"Coast Guardsmen have a commonality – we all desire to be part of something bigger than ourselves. There are few greater honors than serving and helping those less fortunate," said Riedel.
For three of the four years that he has been assigned to the LDC, Riedel has maintained a close rapport with the manager and staff of the Women’s Center of Southeastern Connecticut, an organization with a big job and a limited budget that takes in homeless and battered women and their children and provides them a place to shelter or a safe haven.
Over the three year period Riedel not only volunteered his personal time but he also led a number of teams of Chief Warrant Officer Professional Development students – over 100 students in all – in making major renovations to the Women’s Center’s two residential homes.
Through his efforts students amassed over 900 volunteer hours, saving the Center more than $10,000 in labor and contracting costs; projects that would have otherwise been abandoned because of a lack of funds.
From painting, demolition and reconstruction, replacing wood and tile flooring, repair of damaged interior spaces, and installing shelving units in the kitchen and living areas, Riedel made sure that repairs were made professionally so the shelter’s inhabitants had a comfortable place to live. He also personally ensured that winterizing of the shelters was done annually by removing air-conditioner units, insulating pipes from the freezing temperatures, and a number of other contributions to the Center.
Through his efforts and leadership, more than 150 homeless women and children had a safe environment to live in and more than 5,900 domestic violence victims seeking assistance had a place to call.
His outreach efforts positively affected the community and the Coast Guard Officer Corps. Because of this, Riedel was awarded the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal on May 9. He was recognized not only for the work that he spearheaded but for the all the positive changes that he made.
“By diligently conducting these outreach events, you faithfully assisted the Women’s Center to meet their goals of providing clients with a safe and comfortable place of recovery,” reads the citation. “You have epitomized the definition of servant-leadership by demonstrating commitment to making positive changes in our local community and your actions reflect the proud character of our service ethos.”
After being awarded the medal in front of one of his Chief Warrant Officer Classes, Riedel commented that “this award would not have been possible without a collection of very talented Chief Warrant Officer Professional Development students. I challenge every Coast Guardsmen – especially my fellow Chief Warrant Officers – to donate their time and expertise to a worthy organization in their area."
Read the full text of Troy's citation HERE.