Wednesday, September 07, 2005

A bright spot

Amidst all the outrage over what went wrong last week, the Washington Post found one agency that did what it was supposed to, when it was supposed to: The Coast Guard.

I've always had a good impression of the USCG, because a good friend of mine in public policy grad school was a Coast Guard Lieutenant. Jim Elliott was the kind of person who goes into public service to, well, serve the public. He never called attention to his own accomplishments, just quietly did an amazing job.

Unfortunately, as so often happens after graduation, many of my fellow students lost touch with each other. I still have a core group of four friends (including me) who make a point of getting together at least once a year to catch up. Inevitably, someone will ask, "Anyone heard from Jim?" Nope.

Guess who turned up in that WaPo article?
Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Jim Elliott , who is helping oversee rescues from Mobile, said the agency set up a unified command with states and local industries before the hurricane roared ashore.

"We know how to join with other organizations to get the job done," he said. "We were out the door as soon as the winds died down."
Those people are in good hands. If the rest of the Coast Guard personnel are anything like Jim, they won't waste time posing for cameras while there are still lives to be saved.


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