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220th birthday of Coast Guard celebrated at Lobster Fest opening

U.S. Coast Guard members including (from left) Chief Warrant Officer Sebastian Arnsdorf, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Paul Dupuis, Lt. Brierley Ostrander and Commander Brian Gilda listen during a ceremony honoring the 220th birthday of the U.S. Coast Guard at the 63rd annual Maine Lobster Festival in Rockland on Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2010. (Bangor Daily News/Bridget Brown)
By Heather Steeves, BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — U.S. Coast Guard Station Rockland was honored during a ceremony and celebration of the 220th birthday of the Coast Guard on the opening day of the Maine Lobster Festival.

City officials, Coast Guard personnel and state legislators commemorated the occasion Wednesday on the festival’s main stage.

Festival president Tim Carroll welcomed the crowd as he stood on the concrete stage downhill from a green and purple dragon roller coaster.

“I think it is great for Rockland to be the home of the Lobster Festival, but it is truly an honor to be a Coast Guard city,” Carroll said.

Cmdr. Brian Gilda, from Sector Northern New England, presented a letter of appreciation and goodwill to the city’s mayor.

“The Coast Guard thanks Rockland for making Coast Guard men and women feel more at home,” Gilda said.

Station Rockland’s Commanding Officer Sebastian Arnsdorf said people in the city often help Coast Guard members who are new to Rockland find housing and guide them around the city.

“It’s a very good working relationship. The city gives us a lot of support,” Arnsdorf said Wednesday after the ceremony.

Mayor Deborah E. McNeil proclaimed Aug. 4, 2010, U.S. Coast Guard Day in Rockland.

In closing remarks, Mike Miller, chairman of the Rockland Coast Guard City Committee, thanked the Coast Guard for its work.

“Leadership is an important thing in any community,” Miller said. “These guys and their crews do an incredible job, and we should be very happy to have them.”

Arnsdorf said it is tradition for Coast Guard stations to take the organization’s birthday as a day off to play sports and have picnics, but, as he explained, “Rockland is special.” Instead, his crew helped escort King Neptune at the festival and some of his crew members escorted Sea Goddess pageant contestants onstage.

“I guess I’ll be crowning a princess tonight,” Arnsdorf said.

His crew plans to celebrate the 220th birthday of the Coast Guard on Aug. 13.

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