Service, On The Water

Mission | February 5, 2015

When Ken Brooks moved to the Quad Cities with his wife, Katie, he was looking for a way to serve his community and spend time on the water.

ken_brooksYears ago, he remembered seeing a news broadcast about the members of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary – the uniformed volunteers of the U.S. Coast Guard. The Quad Cities happens to have an auxiliary. He signed on, and recently, he was named commander for the Davenport flotilla.

“It is an honor and a privilege to serve my community and my country, but the greatest satisfaction I get through my service is the opportunity to witness love,” he said.

Below is a Q&A about the flotilla, and Ken’s work with them.

Why do you serve?

I believe strongly that as U.S. citizens, it is our duty to serve the greater good in whatever capacity we are able. As a Christian, I know that the greatest joy in life is serving others using the skills and talents that God has given to me.

What does a Flotilla Commander do?

The flotilla is the basic operating unit in the Coast Guard Auxiliary. The flotilla commander is the unit commander. As such, I lead staff and business meetings, provide training to auxiliarists, procure and issue mission orders, settle disputes, act as a contact between the unit and other government organizations, and sit on the Division board, which in our case, covers the greater Quad City area.

How did you earn this office?

In our chain of leadership, we have elected and appointed officers. The commanding officer and the second in command for every unit at every level are elected by the members. Those elected officers then appoint staff officers to distribute the work load. Every office has a rank associated with it, so as a Flotilla Commander, I wear the insignia of a Coast Guard Lieutenant (two silver bars).

Where are you based out of, and what is the reach of your office?

Flotillas are assigned geographical names, but since we are a federal agency, we are not restricted by geographical lines. The Davenport flotilla is officially, 085-09-05. We are the fifth flotilla in the 9th Division of the 8th Western Rivers Coast Guard District.

Our area of responsibility extends from Clinton, Iowa, south to Burlington, Iowa, on the Mississippi River. Our Davenport auxiliarists also serve wherever needed across the country. I have three auxiliarists serving in Florida as we speak.

What have you done in the past with the Coast Guard?

Besides leadership opportunities, Coast Guard auxiliarists have the opportunity to qualify in different areas. This is where the real work happens. There is a significant amount of training needed for each qualification, so some auxiliarists will qualify in one area and stick with it, others will earn several qualifications. Many of these qualifications are identical to those earned by active duty Coast Guard personnel.

I am a qualified telecommunications operator. As a TCO, I operate radio communications equipment to coordinate Coast Guard surface and air operations, search and rescue, and communicate with the boating public over the Marine Band.

I am qualified as a boating safety partner visitor. In this capacity, I work with local organizations and businesses to provide federal and state boating regulations to their members and customers. I work to train their staff to answer the public’s questions correctly, and I organize public education courses.

I have an administration qualification which is required to be a unit commander, and I am completing my instructor qualification which will allow me to teach public education courses. I am also completing a vessel examiner qualification. The Coast Guard provides this free service to both recreational and commercial boaters. At no charge, we will come and check vessels every year to make sure that they are in good running order. If the vessel passes inspection, the owner receives a decal which is placed on the hull of the vessel. Having this inspection done typically earns a discount on insurance. The USCG Auxiliary also offers a variety of boating courses.

How does your service feed your faith, or vice versa.

The one reoccurring reminder in my service is that God is in control. Even when tragedy strikes, more often than not, things turn out OK. God’s greatest gift to us is love. Because God loves us, God gave us the capacity to love one another. It is an honor and a privilege to serve my community and my country, but the greatest satisfaction I get through my service is the opportunity to witness love. Parents and children learning how to be safe on and around the water because of their love for one another, the warm embrace of best friends after their fishing boat capsized and they made it to shore safely, the tears of joy when a husband and wife are reunited after the wife gets a phone call telling her that her husband’s boat hit the lateral dam and sank. These experiences show you the value of love. Even the sad situations remind us of how valuable we are to each other and to God. Love is rarely as visible as when a life is lost, and the community pour out their souls and grieve.

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Daniel 12:1-3

The Time of the End

1“Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.2“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.3“Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

Psalm 16

1Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.

2I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord;

I have no good besides You.”

3As for the saints who are in the earth,

They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.

4The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied;

I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood,

Nor will I take their names upon my lips.

5The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;

You support my lot.

6The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;

Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.

7I will bless the LORD who has counseled me;

Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.

8I have set the LORD continually before me;

Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

9Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;

My flesh also will dwell securely.

10For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;

Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.

11You will make known to me the path of life;

In Your presence is fullness of joy;

In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Hebrews 10:11-25

11Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;12but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD,13waiting from that time onward UNTIL HISENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET.14For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.15And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying,

16“THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM

AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD:

I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART,

AND ON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM,”

He then says,

17“AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS

I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.”

18Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.

A New and Living Way

19Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,20by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,21and since we have a great priest over the house of God,22let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.23Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;24and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,25not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Christ or Judgment

Mark 13:1-8

Things to Come

1As He was going out of the temple, one of His disciples *said to Him, “Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!”2And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.”

3As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew were questioning Him privately,4“Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?”5And Jesus began to say to them, “See to it that no one misleads you.6“Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He!’ and will mislead many.7“When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be frightened; those things must take place; but that is not yet the end.8“For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will also be famines. These things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.

Daniel 7:9-14

9“I kept looking

Until thrones were set up,

And the Ancient of Days took His seat;

His vesture was like white snow

And the hair of His head like pure wool.

His throne was ablaze with flames,

Its wheels were a burning fire.

10“A river of fire was flowing

And coming out from before Him;

Thousands upon thousands were attending Him,

And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him;

The court sat,

And the books were opened.

11“Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire.12“As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time.

The Son of Man Presented

13“I kept looking in the night visions,

And behold, with the clouds of heaven

One like a Son of Man was coming,

And He came up to the Ancient of Days

And was presented before Him.

14“And to Him was given dominion,

Glory and a kingdom,

That all the peoples, nations and men of every language

Might serve Him.

His dominion is an everlasting dominion

Which will not pass away;

And His kingdom is one

Which will not be destroyed.

The Vision Interpreted

Psalm 93

1The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty;

The LORD has clothed and girded Himself with strength;

Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.

2Your throne is established from of old;

You are from everlasting.

3The floods have lifted up, O LORD,

The floods have lifted up their voice,

The floods lift up their pounding waves.

4More than the sounds of many waters,

Than the mighty breakers of the sea,

The LORD on high is mighty.

5Your testimonies are fully confirmed;

Holiness befits Your house,

O LORD, forevermore.

Revelation 1:-4-8

John 18:33-37

33Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?”34Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?”35Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?”36Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”37Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”