Coast Guard Museum proponent wins leadership award

New London - The president of the National Coast Guard Museum Association, which is raising money to build a museum on the city's waterfront, has been awarded the 2012 Spirit of Hope leadership award for his work in establishing the museum.

James "Jimmy" Coleman Jr., one of six recipients of the Spirit of Hope award - one for each branch of the military - was presented with the award Tuesday during the 2012 Spirit of Hope Award Ceremony at the Pentagon Library in Washington, D.C.

The Spirit of Hope honor is named after comedian Bob Hope, who entertained thousands of men and women in the armed services with his USO shows. Each branch of the armed services nominates a volunteer.

A resident of New Orleans, Coleman is chairman of International Matex Tank Terminals in New Orleans, La., and has served on the Coast Guard Foundation board since 1997.

The museum project has been in the works for 14 years. Coleman dedicated personal time and resources to negotiate a site in New London and to work with state and local community stakeholders.

"I am deeply honored to be recognized by the United States Coast Guard with the prestigious Spirit of Hope award," Coleman said after receiving the award earlier this week. "It is with great pride and humility that I accept this recognition on behalf of all the dedicated volunteers and coasties devoted to seeing a National Coast Guard Museum honoring our brave men and women protecting the liberty, safety, security and values of our homeland. We do this together for them. Semper Paratus!"

In April 2013, Admiral Robert J. Papp, commandant of the Coast Guard, announced the proposed location on the city's downtown waterfront for the museum. Plans include a four-story, 54,300-square-foot building that will include interactive exhibits, event space and lecture rooms, as well as a reception area, gift shop and café.

In addition, the Eagle is expected to eventually be located at an adjacent pier, serving as an additional attraction. A pedestrian overpass across the railroad tracks will connect the museum with the local ferry terminal and train station.

The association is in the midst of a national fundraising campaign called the "Barque Eagle Society." For more information or to make a donation, contact the National Coast Guard Museum Association at (860) 443-4200 or visit www.coastguardmuseum.org.

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