Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 53 supports the 2011 Coast Guard day celebration in Portsmouth, Va.

Guests celabrate the Coast Guard's 221st birthday at the 2011 Coast Guard day celebration Aug. 6, 2011. The crews of the Coast Guard Cutter Elm and Beluga were available for tours of the cutters.

Post and photos by Coast Guard Flotilla 53 Auxiliarist Kevin Shortell.

On Saturday, Aug. 6, members of Flotilla 53 worked in support of Portsmouth’s 2011 Coast Guard day celebration commemorating the Coast Guard’s 221st birthday.

Flotilla 53 canine affairs officer Thunder greets a living historian representing the World War II Coast Guard Aug. 6, 2011. Thunder and his owner, Kevin Shortell, were on duty in support of the 2011 Coast Guard day celebration.

The flotilla members, as well as Thunder, the flotillas canine affairs officer, and Coastie the Safety Boat were on hand to man the public affairs booth promoting boating safety and Coast Guard recruiting. In addition, Mike Eberhardt, the division commander, and his wife Patti stopped by.

They had a great public reception and were able to pass on valuable information. Coastie the Safety Boat was a hit with the kids as always.

Thunder made his public debut and was a wild success with everyone. Thunder’s role is in public affairs and surface operations. In particular, his role is a life jacket model and canine water safety advocate.

Coastie the Safety Boat entertains children at the 2011 Coast Guard day celebration Aug. 6, 2011. The celebration was held for the Coast Guard's 221st birthday.

Even Admiral Robert Parker, Coast Guard Atlantic Area commander, and Admiral William “Dean” Lee, commander Coast Guard 5th District, showed their appreciation for Thunder’s attendance. Not bad to be hobnobbing and impressing the brass during his first day on the job!

Encouragingly, they also fielded interest from individuals desiring to join the Auxiliary.

Recruiting is always a top priority and continues to be successful, even in a down economy.

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