Memories and Motivation

Retired Senior Chief recalls critical help for his family in the sixties

Retired Senior Chief Robert Allen is approaching his 90th birthday this year and his children are planning the celebration. “I got a huge family with 14 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren,” he remarked.

Many retirees remember important milestones during their time of service.  Senior Chief Allen is no different. He recalls his various duty stations and assignments over his 22.5 years of service. He can also remember which car he used for the monthly shopping trips to the commissary where he “could put all the food in the trunk” and the car he “drove out with five kids in the back” when he moved from the west coast to Fairport Harbor, Ohio, just east of Cleveland in the late sixties.

A pivotal moment he recalls during that period was when Mutual Assistance, “back then it was Coast Guard Welfare,” came through for him. Twice.

After he arrived from the West Coast Robert discovered “a family still living in the housing we were to use. So, for weeks we were in motels. It was a mess. I asked for money from Coast Guard Welfare because I was short. I had just run out of money, paying for motels and eating out.” Through the local Welfare office, Robert was provided the financial resources he needed to stabilize the situation and support his family while the housing situation was sorted out.

Just a year or so later, “in 1969 my dad passed away and I needed to fly to Oregon for his funeral.” Coast Guard Welfare provided the cost of the flight because at the time he noted, “I didn’t have much money to spare.”

On both occasions, Senior Chief Allen recalls “Coast Guard Welfare was there when I needed it. I feel obligated to do what I can.” So for decades, Robert has given generously to support the mission of CGMA making sure that other young Coast Guardsmen can get the help they need should they face similar challenges.

Looking back Robert sums up his time in the Coast Guard, “I had good people to work for and work with.”  While he anticipates his upcoming birthday, he notes just how fast time passes, “Time really flies. Time seems to move faster in your 40s and 50s, but when you get to your 70’s and 80s a year goes by real quick.” Despite how fast time goes, Senior Chief Allen is still choosing to “do what I can.”

Experiences like Senior Chief Allen’s show the seamless mission that CGMA has had through the decades, providing the support members need during their PCS transitions and other critical moments. Do you remember a time when Mutual Assistance was there for you? What is your CGMA experience? Tell your CGMA story.

Senior Chief Allen in uniform


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