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CG Auxiliarist wins national award

Dr. Marilynn R. Leonard of Port Angeles has been chosen as the 2008 Coast Guard Auxiliarist of the Year.

"The amount of effort and energy she puts into the auxiliary is amazing," said Sandy Pinckert, a fellow Coast Guard Auxiliarist from detachment Flotilla 42, who nominated her for the national award.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary is comprised of 30,000 civilian volunteers who donate their time and expertise to further Coast Guard missions.

Leonard first was selected locally, then districtwide and finally nationally by the commandant of the Coast Guard for the honor.

"It was definitely surprising, but I'm very grateful," Leonard said.

She and her husband, Dr. Leo Leonard, have combined to volunteer more than 14,000 hours since joining in 2006. Leonard will be recognized for her performance Aug. 29 at the Coast Guard Auxiliary National Conference in Chicago.

She focuses much of her volunteer time as the assistant public affairs officer for Coast Guard Group Port Angeles/Sequim.

Leonard manages the Citizens Action Network for the Strait of Juan de Fuca, a unique organization that monitors local coasts and waterways, increasing local Coast Guard awareness.

She has worked with a wide variety of photo mapping projects used extensively by many federal and state agencies, established a new auxiliary detachment in Forks, and recruited seven new members for the auxiliary.

Her favorite part is boater safety inspections. She has taken part in 50 of her auxiliary group's inspections of 400 vessels.

"It's a chance to meet people and do something

good and help them become better boaters," Leonard said.

"Safety is important because people continually do dangerous things."

Leonard is a retired business professor at Westminster College.

She said the Coast Guard Auxiliary wasn't in her peripheral vision when joining.

"It was a great way to try something new," Leonard said.

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