Another Day at the Office

Another Day at the Office

Grace under pressure helped Lindsey Neumann, '09, earn the honor of 2014 Navy Times Coast Guardsman of the Year.

During the worst of Hurricane Sandy in the summer of 2012, the tall ship HMS Bounty began sinking in massive seas more than 90 miles off the coast of North Carolina. The 16 people on board the 180-foot historical replica were in serious trouble. Inside Coast Guard Command Center Sector North Carolina, Operations Specialist 2nd Class Neumann received the distress call. Her actions contributed to the rescue of 14 sailors.

Sinking of the Bounty

“I had never dealt with anything that intense. We got a call that the vessel was taking on water, but they were able to keep up with it. Throughout the night it progressively got worse, to the point where we had to send aircrews because they abandoned ship.”

“With my job it is life or death. You can never be complacent. You always have to be on edge because something can happen at any moment. I treat [everyone as a] family member. What would you do if your family member was in this situation? How far would I go to make sure that my family member was rescued?”

A Different Path

“I was the last person you would have ever thought to join the military. My senior year of college I was working at a hotel, and I just couldn’t see myself doing that for the rest of my life. … There’s nothing wrong with hotel management, but it just wasn’t as fulfilling as this is to me. My degree in hospitality management has really helped me [become successful in the Coast Guard]. When you’re speaking to people in distress, being polite and having a customer service attitude helps everyone stay calm and communicate more effectively.”

Taking Risks

“I had no clue what I was getting myself into going into the Coast Guard, but I love every second of it. Never give up on something because you think it’s going to be too hard or that the change will be too drastic. I used to be very shy and had extremely low self-esteem, and I’ve developed into this person who is confident. I feel like I found myself in the Coast Guard.”

Giving Back

“I always felt like I should give back because I’ve been really lucky in my life. When I came to Wilmington I got involved with the Cape Fear Volunteer Center’s Big Buddy Program. My buddy Victoria was an 8-year-old when I first met her, and she has had kind of a rough life. I would take her out a couple of times a month to do things and be a positive influence on her life.”

 Top image courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard