2015 Coast Guard Ombudsman of the Year

Amanda 2

Do you want to make a difference? Do you have a passion for helping people?

Some questions the 2015 Wanda Allen-Yearout Ombudsman of the Year Award recipient asks as a motivational tool to help those whom take up the mantle of ombudsman for the Coast Guard unit or units in their area.

According to Amanda Murray, whether being new to military life or a seasoned spouse, the ombudsman plays a key role in navigating the difficult waters of life in the Coast Guard. They make life a little bit easier in the service for families and provide a safe link to understand it. Amanda is the Wanda Allen-Yearout Ombudsman of the Year Award recipient.

“I was surprised at receiving this award, and I’m truly honored,” said Murray. “I just really enjoy helping people.”

The Ombudsman Program was created in 1986 with the establishment of the Coast Guard Family Representative Program.

“We are very proud of Amanda,” said Rear Admiral David Callahan, commander, 8th Coast Guard District. “She is a great representative of all of the selfless work our ombudsmen do across the Coast Guard every day.”

As a 14-year-old seasoned spouse to the military lifestyle, Amanda hadn’t really known much about the Ombudsman Program until she moved to Grand Isle with her husband, Lt. Ian Murray, commanding officer, Station Grand Isle.

“When we moved to Grand Isle, we had an ombudsman here and she was wonderful. She immediately helped us out transitioning and after that I just really wanted to know more about the program,” said Murray. “I just had this desire to really help people down here living in Grand Isle become easier. Because Grand Isle is a remote barrier island, it can be quite scary when you first get here. I wanted to help ease that for people.”

With that new desire kindled she quickly took to learning more about the program and took up the mantle of ombudsman after her predecessor departed.

Amanda created a “welcome aboard” packet that contains facts and figures about the island with a list of hospitals, physicians and other services to ensure a smooth transition for families reporting to the semi-isolated unit. In addition to the packet she organized and coordinated a Coast Guard family day event that involved a cook-out, tours of local units, entertainment, and the opportunity for the Coast Guard members and their families to interact with the local community.

“The spouses who are ombudsmen for their units sacrifice their time to ensure the military families in their areas have the right connections and support they need,” said Master Chief Petty Officer Ryan Fahlenkamp, command master chief, 8th Coast Guard District. “With the vastness of the 8th Coast Guard District and its units, the ombudsmen play an integral role as a support line for the families of our service members.”

Ombudsman means a person who has an ear to the people. The role of an ombudsman is a role in which time is sacrificed to ensure families have a smooth transition to a new unit or even to the lifestyle of the military. It is also a role in which family is emphasized within the Coast Guard.

Congratulations to Mrs. Amanda Murray, the 2015 Wanda Allen-Yearout Ombudsman of the Year Award recipient!