In the spirit of honoring Coast Guard mothers, we have gathered a few Coast Guard members who had a few things to say about their own mothers. Happy Mother’s Day!
Chief Petty Officer David Chenlo
Coast Guard District 11 Admin Chief (photo above)
I am very lucky to have an amazing mom! I spent the first 10 years of my life in a poor country (Cuba) where the challenges were many. We didn’t have normal luxuries like we enjoy here, no functioning toilet, no shower, no toilet paper, no automobile, etc. However, my mother ensured we were always fed, clean, and ready for school. Many times, she had to give up her meal to ensure we ate. She taught us to work hard, better ourselves, and be positive towards life. No matter how hard things got, she was still positive and had a “can do” attitude towards everything she did.
Upon arriving in the U.S., my mother worked twice as hard and ensured we were ready to make ourselves successful in this new country. She had the challenge of learning a new language, at age 38, which as kids, my sister and I were able to learn quickly. However, she still advanced in her company and made herself a valuable employee. As a leader and Coast Guard member, I use these values to appreciate every opportunity the Coast Guard gives me, and I use her positive attitude as a leader to ensure my team is always performing at their best and feel appreciated for the work they do.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Bethany Scott
Aids to Navigation Team Kodiak, Alaska
My mom was one of my biggest supporters in life, one of my number one fans. She helped me become who I am today. I’ll always remember the good times we’ve had in life. In boot camp I remember looking for her cards. I would get a card each day that helped me get through those eight weeks. On my graduation day I remember marching and seeing her from a distance in a bright pink trench coat, I wanted to run to her give her a hug, cry and tell her I missed her so much! After graduating boot camp and starting my Coast Guard career, phone calls and Skype dates with my parents were what I looked forward to after my long days.
Everybody has their “go-to” person; my mom was my go-to person. She didn’t just talk on the phone with me but any time I felt homesick she would send a care package with everything that reminded me of home. Whenever I went home on leave, the fridge was always packed with my favorite foods. I shared my dreams and goals with her and vice versa. I had a plan that I was going to take my mom to the Philippines (that is where she was from), I was going to take her shopping, out to dinner and to see the Seattle Seahawks.
It’s been almost a year now since she passed away. Usually on Mother’s Day I would send her flowers, a gift and a card. She would then post it on Facebook where she would express how delighted she was. I loved seeing her post how happy she was. It’s the little things in life that I enjoy most and that was one of my favorite moments. My mom was everything to me and my sisters.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Ali Flockerzi
Coast Guard District 13 Public Affairs
A few paragraphs could not contain the awesomeness that is my mother and words are simple marks that fail to explain what she truly means to me. She is my mother and my father, proudly carrying both roles in my life. She is caring, patient, humorous, beautiful, honest, blunt and admirable. Mostly she’s a cook whose amazing meals I cannot begin to duplicate for the life of me. She’s been everything to me, and together, we’ve been through hell and back. While I fell apart, she held our small family together with incredible strength and resilience.
As a single parent, my mother gave all of her love, money, time and more to my sister and me. She taught us a lot of life lessons, which we often learned the difficult way because, as teenage daughters, we were a pretty stubborn pair. We cried and laughed together and poor mom tended to be at the brunt of our never-ending jokes. But this never kept her from seeing the bright side of things or happily entertaining her daughters’ mildly cruel humor.
Until joining the military and truly striking out on my own, I did not understand what it meant to miss my mother. If somebody had told younger Ali that I would adore my mother beyond words, I would have scoffed or rolled my eyes at the mere thought. Of course I loved my mom, but only time and life lessons could ever develop my adolescent love and dependence into the full-blown adoration and understanding I have for her today. Even now, I start to tear up as I think about all that she’s done for me and what she really means to me; her waterworks being something I always snickered at her for doing. Sigh . . . Like mother, like daughter.
This article appears courtesy of Coast Guard News and may be found in its original form here.
The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.