Marti and I took a break from our incoming grandbaby watch to fly to Jacksonville, FL for the retirement ceremony of my best friend and former partner in the Coast Guard Investigative Service, CWO4 Ron Cerino, USCG. He retired after 30 years in the U.S. Coast Guard and the ceremony was to honor and remember his service.
Many of my old Coast Guard friends were there in attendance, including the former Chaplin of the Coast Guard, Monsignor Cuddy, who gave the invocation, and as usual, had us all cracking up with his Irish humor,
to another great friend and special agent buddy, CWO4 Scott Miles, USCG, who was the Master of Ceremonies.
The Distinguished Guest and Keynote Speaker was Retired Coast Guard Commandant, Admiral Thad Allen, whom we all had worked for as part of his protection detail. He gave a great speech and had us all laughing recalling great moments and some not so great moments in Ron’s career.
Ron’s kids all took a turn, too, to speak and tell how much of an impact he had on their lives and how much they appreciated his love and guidance over the years.
Then came a major surprise…for me. Ron stopped his ceremony and called me up to the front, to honor me and our time serving together. We spent years working as a team and had adventures that took us all over the world. We always joked that we spent more time with each other than our own wives.
He then presented me with a Shadow Box that contained my awards and insignia that I had earned and wore over the years during my career. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I never was able to have a retirement ceremony at the end of my career.
It was a total surprise and an honor to be so recognized. I admit I got very choked up.
The whole idea cooked up by Ron and his wife, Amy, (also know as CWO4 Amy Cerino, USCG, pictured here in civilian clothes),
in collusion with my son, Chief Petty Officer Ryan Dahl, USCG, my other son Corey, my daughter Heather and of course, Marti.
Amy conspired with Ryan to have the flag flown over his cutter, the USCGC CHEYANNE,
while Marti and Heather raided my uniform stored at Heather’s house for some of the pins which they sent to Amy. Ron and Amy obtained the box and many other pins and ribbons and assembled the whole thing, without my knowledge.
I was so blown away. I’ve also grounded Ryan, Heather, Corey and Marti for being so sneaky.
After the ceremony, there was a fantastic reception, topped off with a cake representing Ron’s uniform shirt, along with a second cake in the shape of a Honey Badger.
It was delicious!
We got many of the gang together for a group photo, it was many years since we’ve all been together.
Truly a wonderful day and one that I’ll never forget. Now Ron and Amy along with Marti and I are going to plan some RV trips together. Yep, they have a 28 foot Class C that they love to travel in! :c)
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