Skip Nunweiler and his wife, Bobbi, were destined to serve their country. Both have military connections as Bobbi was the daughter of a chief warrant officer serving in the United States Air Force. Her father was also Skip’s commanding officer who “sorta” introduced him to Bobbi at a squadron party. The rest is history.
When Skip left the Air Force, they settled in Pennsylvania, eventually ending up in Indianapolis where he retired from the corporate life. In 2005, Bobbi heard about the Coast Guard Auxiliary here, and they promptly joined together. It was another good fit. Today, Skip is division commander of Division One, an all volunteer auxiliary that expands from the 41st Latitude down to the Ohio River.
In Division One, there are 5 Flotillas which serve as local units, and there can be anywhere from 15 to 50 volunteers in each one. There are flotillas in Castleton, Greenwood, Noblesville, and on the east side of Indianapolis near 38th Street and Interstate 465. There is also one on the Ohio River close to Madison.
“We are a number multiplier for the Coast Guard as private citizens. There are over 35,000 volunteers across the nation, matching the 35,000 regular Coast Guard service members on active duty. Our volunteer services require no charge for the large effort expanded by the individuals who serve at large in safety and rescue operations,” Commander Skip said with obvious pride. “We offer boating safety classes throughout the year. We are involved in helping when a boat malfunctions, delivering the boaters safely back to land if need be,” adds Bobbi.
Division One provides search and safety protection on the water including Geist and Morse Reservoirs and Lake Monroe in Bloomington, to name a bit of their coverage on familiar waters. The Coast Guard Auxiliary also is involved in checking the levels of water depth and working with the Department of Natural Resources. This year at the Geist “Blast on the Bridge,” Skip and Bobbi’s group escorted the boat parade while keeping the other boats away at a safe distance during the parade.
The Auxiliary has no arrest powers, but can identify and report boaters who are breaking water laws. They can issue a “stay put” order until the police arrive to make the arrest.
To become part of an Auxiliary Coast Guard boat crew, one must be at least 17 years of age and take a full year of training on water, vessel, safety, and dockside issues. It’s critical that volunteers have a thorough understanding of each issue before they are part of an active team. Boats donated from private owners for service are subject to strict specification standards.
The Coast Guard originated in 1790, and the Auxiliary was formed in 1939. This branch of service indeed has a proud and distinguished record. The people who serve their country deserve recognition, but all too often the protection and services they provide go unrecognized by the general public.
One last thing. Skip and Bobbi would like you to know that the Coast Guard Auxiliary is in need of boats. If any boat owner would like to volunteer his/her boat for this wonderful service, please contact Skip and Bobbi by email at: Skipnl1940@sbcglobal.net
To find out more about the Coast Guard Auxiliary and how you might become a volunteer, go to www.cgaux.org.
The service this volunteer auxiliary provides is simply fantastic, and no one is more fit to provide it than the dynamic duo of Skip and Bobbi Nunweiler. As I said earlier, they were destined to serve their country!