A highlight of the evening is the Invitational Art Gallery with several of the artists in attendance, including (l–r) Len Mizerek, ASMA president Lisa Egeli, the exhibition chair Patrick O’Brien, and Nicolas Fox.
photo by carolyn mizerek
put together. Award-winning documentarian and NMHS vice chair Rick Lopes presented video introductions about each recipient, and their showing is considered a highlight of NMHS awards events. Admiral Robert J. Papp Jr., 24th commandant of the Coast Guard, and Ronald Oswald, NMHS chair, introduced the partnering organizations. The Coast Guard Academy Cadet Chorale, under the direction of Dr. Robert Newton, performed nautical and patriotic music, and the Navy Color Guard presented colors. Just a few blocks from the White House and a home base for awardwinning journalists past and present, the National Press Club is an iconic Washington venue that is an experience in itself. For our event, we also featured original contemporary works by artists from the American Society of Marine Artists (ASMA) as part of the Invitational Art Gallery, organized by acclaimed marine artist Patrick O’Brien. The dinner is an opportunity for organizations of the maritime heritage community to join together to make important inroads in procuring federal funding for maritime heritage projects and organizations, and serves as a significant component of our advocacy efforts. But more than all this were NCGMA chair Susan Curtin and ADM James Loy present the remarks from the podium, offered with humor, with some irreverence, Gov. Tom Ridge with the Alexander Hamilton Award and but always fascinating. This year’s honorees come from diverse backgrounds a stunning glass model of the USCG Barque Eagle, made in the maritime sector, but all share a dedication to the sea and seafaring, by Ships of Glass craftsman Don Hardy. and bring perspectives that can enlighten us all. Dr. James Carlton, director emeritus of Williams–Mystic, “We live in an era of changing oceans, with seas that are warming and rising. These changes affect billions of people who depend on the sea for food and livelihood…these changes affect all of humanity. Our core mission at Williams-Mystic is creating citizens who will become profound stewards of the oceans.” Admiral Greenert described how, as CNO, Admiral Johnson fostered a spirit of great pride in the Navy. During his confirmation as CNO, Johnson pledged that, under his leadership, the Navy would steer by the stars, and not its wake. Admiral Johnson summed up his time in the service: “The Navy is part of everything I do every day, and that experience has informed the rest of my life.” Admiral Loy described Governor Tom Ridge as a remarkable leader who, at a time of great crisis and strife after 9/11, succeeded in setting up the newly established Department of Homeland Security by articulating a clear vision that would transform twenty-two federal agencies into an effective new entity. Governor Ridge stated that Williams-Mystic faculty, alumni, and staff turned out in force to celebrate the program, with no disrespect for the Navy, Air Force, Marines winner of the NMHS Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Maritime Education. and the Army (in which he served), the Coast Guard, “pound for pound, person for person, man and woman, is the most effective, efficient organization in the government. And still they have no museum.” With that he entreated us all to support the plan to build a National Coast Guard Museum. Our maritime heritage has shaped our culture and continues to shape our future. When leaders in the disparate fields associated with ships, seafaring, and the marine environment gather together, we learn so much from each other. Be sure to check out the photos from the gala on www.seahistory.org and consider attending the National Maritime Awards Dinner in 2020. It is an event with such purpose and a great evening you won’t want to miss. —Burchenal Green, NMHS President
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