Meanwhile back at the ranch …

Thom McQueen, BC-QIO - Branch Chief, Incident Management and Preparedness - U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary

In the Coast Guard Auxiliary, everyone has something to offer. If you have a skill set, we have a place for it. Everyone has something unique to offer to their community and nation. In talking with the members, you will hear some interesting stories. This is one members answer to “Why did you join the Auxiliary?”

Why did I join the Auxiliary? I think it goes back to when I was young.

When I was growing up, we only had one television. My father was generous enough let my brother and I squabble over programs on most nights but when a western was on, he preempted us. It never mattered if it was a new John Wayne movie or an old Gene Autry film, it was playing in our house on HIS television.

I would watch these westerns with my dad. I noticed that in the middle of the action, they always showed a few minutes of ranch life – the wife or mother was usually cooking or sewing and the children were doing chores or doing schoolwork. A nice picture of domesticity.

Then, we’d go back to the action. The good guy would win and the bad guys would end up either in jail or a pine box.

When I was much younger and much smarter, I would laugh at this and call it the “Meanwhile back at the Ranch” moment. You had to use an announcer’s voice, something deep and formal. It seemed like such a waste of time to me.

Now that I’m older and not so smart (but maybe a little wiser), I think I understand why it was important enough to break up the action; it showed what the good guy was fighting for – not money, or fame, or glory, but home and family. To live free and in safety.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary gives us the unique opportunity to reach out and protect those moments. It may seem like a minor thing we do but lives may be saved or lost because we did, or didn’t do a Vessel Safety Check or teach a boating safety class or ask someone about life jackets. We may never know. But I can say with some certainty that whatever reason you give for joining, at bottom, you did it to make people a little wiser and a little safer for their own “Meanwhile Back at the Ranch” moments.

Many interesting members, many interesting stories. What story will you tell after you join? Join us ! Contact 606- 584-1040.

Thom McQueen, BC-QIO

Branch Chief, Incident Management and Preparedness

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary