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US Coast Guard hosts open house

The US Coast Guard hosts an open house at their Erie base on Presque Isle.  

Hundreds came to tour the US Coast Guard base in Erie this weekend to gain a better understanding of what these service members do on a daily basis.  The Coast Guard in Erie is tasked with helping anyone in distress on the water between Van Buren Point near Dunkirk, New York all the way to Conneaut, Ohio, a nearly 75 mile stretch along the lakeshore.

Events like this are meant to create a bond with the community.  Jakob Parmeter, Lead Petty Officer of Erie Sea Cadets, says, it's "great for the local community to come out and just get a little insight of what our local coast guard station does here..."

Taking the tour gives a look behind the scenes of Coast Guard operations.  Not only did the Coast Guard want to just open their doors to build a relationship between them and the community, this event also served as recruitment for them and the Sea Cadets.

Daniel Heitzer, Chief of the US Coast Guard of Erie, says, "I have been asked quite a number of times, 'How do you join the Coast Guard?'... It's fairly simple, just like any other branch... [We] welcome anyone.  The age group for us, really, is 10-18.  Doesn't matter who you are, what you want to do."

Most people in Erie have never seen the Coast Guard base before, but for 11-year-old Emmalee Campbell, it's a dream come true.  "Everyone has a cool experience here.  And it's just great.  I've always wanted to be in the Coast Guard.  And it's fun, very fun.  I just want to save people's lives..."

Presque Isle Partnership helped organize the tours.  The Coast Guard tells us that they plan to continue having tours like this and engaging the community. 

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