Rhododendron Festival features Station Siuslaw River as parade grand marshals

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U.S. Coast Guard joins Rhody festivities

In honor of U.S. Coast Guard Station Siuslaw River’s 100 years on the Oregon coast and Florence’s bid to become a Coast Guard City, Florence Area Chamber of Commerce named the local station as the grand marshals of this year’s Rhododendron Festival Grand Floral Parade on Sunday, May 21.

“It is certainly an honor,” said Master Chief Tim Tregoning, officer in charge of Station Siuslaw River. “It definitely helps us feel part of the community and like we’re at home while we’re assigned here.”

“Coasties” at Station Siuslaw River show their involvement with the Florence community each year by participating in Rhody Days events. As grand marshals, they will have even more of a presence with the color guard, a 29-foot response boat, parade walkers and the involvement of the U.S Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 52.

According to Tregoning, he wants to keep the festivities open for all members of “the Coast Guard family.”

“One of the things I try to push is the family element. A big part of our Coasties feeling at home when they get to Florence is the inclusion of their entire family in this community,” he said.

From serving as volunteer firefighters with Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue, dancing and acting with Children’s Repertory of Oregon Workshops, playing with Siuslaw Youth Soccer Association and being involved with Scouts and additional sports and programs, Coast Guard members and their families are vital community members.

“During the parade, it’s good to show who we are — that we’re out here,” Tregoning said.

Station Siuslaw River opened in 1917, with the first officer in charge reporting that December. Over the years, it has protected the Siuslaw River bar as a U.S. Lifesaving Service, as an outpost and as a full station.

The station’s current buildings were built in the 1970s. Tregoning plans to hold an open house at the station sometime later this year.

Tregoning said Rhody Days kicks off summer activities for Station Siuslaw River.

“Now that Rhody Days is here, and now that halibut openers are happening, we’re in summer mode,” Tregoning said. “We’re going to get more involved in the public affairs side.”

A full summer includes safe boating classes; interagency training with area EMTs, police and hospitals; the Law Enforcement Torch Run; and increased training.

“We’re trying to promote the interagency support,” Tregoning said.

This includes working with Lane County Sheriff’s office to  learn area lakes better to help prevent the loss of summer recreationists.

For Tregoning, Rhody Days starts a summer of fun with his wife, Amy, and their children Jon and Berkley.

“Every year I participate in the motorcycle run and the kids love the carnival. I like going out and checking the car show. I only get to see one aspect of the parade, but it is definitely worthwhile,” he said. “The recognition for the Coast Guard is overwhelming when we go through the parade.”

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