Today, two members of the Zionsville Fire Department (ZFD) set sail on the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) Hollyhock with the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve in St. Ignace, MI to participate in an ice breaking mission through the Straits of Mackinac.
Deputy Chief Jeff Beam and Division Chief Milan Vlha boarded an aircraft this morning that took them from Indianapolis to Coast Guard Station St. Ignace.
The day included Beam and Vlha learning about the missions provided by the station and its personnel, boarding the USCGC Hollyhock, touring for approximately two to three hours and returning to Indianapolis tonight.
Ice breaking operations are conducted by the Coast Guard in the Great Lakes and Northeast regions to facilitate safe maritime commerce in icy waters and for protection in emergency situations.
The invitation to ZFD was sent by Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense program. This program was established to promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve Component Service members and their civilian employers and to assist in conflict resolution. Vlha was formerly part of the U.S. Coast Guard.
“I would like to thank the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve for this amazing experience for two of ZFD’s personnel. I know both Deputy Chief Beam and Division Chief Vlha are extremely appreciative of the opportunity,” said Chief James VanGorder.