Coast Guardsman Honored by American Legion

Lending a hand and performing simple acts of kindness are part of daily life for members of the U.S. Coast Guard. With stations, hangars and units woven into the fabric of our maritime communities, service is a central theme that resonates with all servicemembers.

But for Petty Officer 2nd Class Shawn Pugmire, service is not just a theme but also a naturally ingrained trait. It’s no wonder why the American Legion, the nation’s largest veteran organization, would want to honor him for his commitment to community.

Pugmire, an aviation maintenance technician stationed at Air Station San Francisco, received the Spirit of Service Award for outstanding dedication to his community.

While he keeps America’s Coast Guard airborne in San Francisco, off duty Pugmire donates hundreds of hours volunteering as a volunteer firefighter for a local department. Over the course of a year, Pugmire racked up more than 600 hours putting himself in harms way in a volunteer capacity.

As a volunteer firefighter he responded to emergency calls, participated in weekly drills, supported department fund raisers, coordinated support for various events and volunteered at local Cub Scout pack meetings to provide training for the scouts in first aid.

His work in at the air station partnering with local agencies also resulted in strong partnerships in his volunteer efforts as well as he routinely participated in Urban Shield training exercises, which simulate multi-agency tactics in response to a variety of emergency situations.

“It’s such an honor to receive this award from the American Legion,” said Pugmire. “These people dedicate a lot of their time and energy to see that our veterans are taken care of. I’m thankful to be recognized by such a distinguished organization.”

His actions are without a doubt charitable and consistent with everything the American Legion stands for.

“The American Legion does some wonderful things,” said William West, the adjutant for the American Legion in the state of Texas. “We’re growing yearly and we’re able to help more and more veterans. We’ve raised so much money for numerous things: scholarship funds, for Operation Comfort Warrior that provides resources to wounded warriors recovering in hospitals. A lot gets accomplished here.”

As a military branch, the Coast Guard prides itself in making strides and excelling; not only within the confines of its missions but also with the efforts of its members extending far beyond their service to their country.

In addition to his volunteer firefighting, he serves as head coach for the San Mateo Coast Side Boys American Youth Soccer Organization, spending up to eight hours per week coaching.

Pugmire and his wife, Dena, also partnered with a local company and created a teen workout program designed to build confidence in senior students through healthy habits, exercise and physical education.

“I really just have a passion to help others,” said Pugmire. “I’ve always had the desire to do so and when the opportunities came about, I made sure that I was on board to lend a helping hand.”

Sure Pugmire donated a lot of his time to a noble cause, but it’s more than just the time he gave. It’s his desire to do more, to help those in need. The 600 hours he logged represents duration of time, but it doesn’t speak for the countless memories he’s helped create, the smiles he’s put on faces or the lives he’s changed.

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