A former resident of Brazil recently played a notable role in a major celebration for the United States Coast Guard.
Boatswain Mate Second Class Kraig McClellan, a 2004 Northview High School graduate, recently served as a tour guide for the 2009 Yankee Homecoming Coast Guard Day, conducted in Newburyport, Ma., from July 26-Aug. 2. McClellan was one of 26 Guard members to serve in the role of tour guide.
The Yankee Homecoming celebration serves to commemorate the history of the Coast Guard, dating back to the organization's founding in 1790, when it was known as the Revenue Cutter Service.
McClellan said the celebration was a good way to educate the public about the expansive role the Coast Guard plays in America today.
"It's good to see the community embrace the history of the Guard so much," McClellan said. "It's really cool for everyone involved."
McClellan called the Coast Guard the "primary homeland security force" of all military units today. In a post-9/11 society, when many military service men and women are fighting abroad, he said the Guard is more needed than ever to attend to matters within this country.
He said he was most excited to see a large quantity of children at the event, as it could potentially make them excited about joining the Coast Guard in the future.
McClellan is the son of Michael McClellan, Brazil, and Lisa Fane, who currently resides in Avon Lake, Ohio. He is currently stationed in Newburyport, and lives with wife Brittany, also formerly of Brazil, and 16-month-old son Owen.
He said he was drawn to the Coast Guard at a young age when he and his family would visit relatives in Georgia near a Coast Guard port.
After graduating from Northview, McClellan paid a visit to a recruitment office in Indianapolis, and quickly enlisted.
Currently in his fifth year of service, McClellan is working at a Surf Station on the Merrimack River.
They do so in a 47-foot boat called a Coxswain, a vessel capable of turning itself right-side-up after being turned over.
McClellan's current duties involved rescue missions in seas of 8-feet high waves, in 30 mph winds, 50 miles off the shore.
Boatswain's require up to six years of training, before they are elevated to the title of Surfsmen, where they receive clearance to handle any hazardous conditions the sea may create to rescue stranded parties. At this time, McClellan has two years of such training under his belt.
The former Brazilian said he hopes to reach the level of Surfsmen. He took a big step in eventually accomplishing his goal having recently signed on for six more years of service.
McClellan said he envisions having a lengthy future in the Coast Guard and is hopeful the service will continue to offer a fulfilling life for he and his family.
"I couldn't ask for a better life," he said. "I love every minute of it."