Letters to the Teacher
How one Auxiliarist is making a difference to our youngsters!
Every year for the past several years, around the end of May, Jean Gieger does something rather unique.
Jean, a mother of a five year old, does this rather unique thing not only for her child, but for other parent’s children.
What Jean does, in this quiet little town, on which nestles the Atlantic Ocean, in a place that has more boats per square mile than any other place in the United States is giving what she hopes will never be used….
A lessoned learned….
Jean Gieger is a United States Coast Guard Auxiliarist. As one of over 31,000 of America’s Volunteer Lifesavers®, Jean concentrates her time between Recreational Boating Safety on land, and as a member of the Auxiliary Boat Crew program, where she helps conduct safety patrols and search and rescue.
This day, she is concentrating on Recreational Boating Safety. In fact, she is working on what is called a Preventive Search and Rescue (Pre-SAR) mission. In laymen’s terms, she is teaching boating safety. And she’s teaching it to some of the youngest members of our society, as well as a hobby and sport that she hopes they will all enjoy for years to come; safely enjoy for years to come.
Jean is teaching boating safety to first graders in the local elementary school. Jean comes to school in her uniform. The children are apprehensive and awed. Jean also brings her international orange Personal Flotation Device (PFD) as well as many other items that Jean uses on the water, as well as items the children may see on their boats.
Jean doesn’t teach down to the children, she teaches to them. She explains the buoyage system, the red nun buoys and the green cans. She explains sound signals and the emergency signal of 5 short blasts.
She enforces the federal law that all children less than twelve years of age must wear a PFD for safety. She does this for both the students that are children, the teachers and parents who have come to learn as well.
““Thank you for teaching me the safety rules on the water.” Wrote Ashley, age 6 to Jean. “I learned that they have plactic whistles and a cork because if it was metal it would rust.”
Nick Aquino, also six, wrote “I learned was there is a night flare and a day flare. Another thing is make user your life jacket fits you.”
What makes the time effort worth while, says Jean is the closing sentences that are representative of both the children and the adults who are present during her lecture. Ashley’s close states the case – “Thanks for teaching me the safety issues on the water!”
As Jean so eloquently put it, “lessons learned young stay with you your entire life. Hopefully these kids have learned some important lessons about boating safety.”
We in the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary hope so. In fact, we’re counting on it!
Do you think your child’s class would benefit from a visit by a Coast Guard Auxiliarist? If so, why not contact your local Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla.
For more information about safe boating courses, why not contact the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary at www.cgaux.org or call 1-877-875-6296.
The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed volunteer component of Team Coast Guard. Founded in 1939 by an Act of Congress as the US Coast Guard Reserves and re-designated the Auxiliary in 1941. The 31,000 volunteer members (men and women) donate thousands of hours in support of Coast Guard missions.