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No anchor tied to Seabrook Coast Guard couple

Created date

July 14th, 2009
Lou Bopp remembers his first boat like it was yesterday. He was eight years old, and the 11 1/2 ft. pleasure cruiser that started out as a rowboat was reinvented over the years into a sailboat and finally a motorboat. I guess you could say that s when it all started, Bopp says. I ve always loved being on and living near the water, tinkering with engines, always working on boats. Born and raised in the Bronx, Bopp received his bachelor s degree in chemistry. Although he was drafted five times, he did not serve in the military because he was a synthetic rubber researcher for a government contractor during WWII, and the country didn t have a resource for rubber. There were very few people working on rubber research at the time, and they needed me more in the lab than they did on the field, Bopp says. I tried to go they just wouldn t release me. But in 1955, Bopp found a way to serve more directly. He joined the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary because he believed strongly in the Coast Guard and its missions. Semper Paratus Established by Congress in 1939, the 30,000 members of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary are Semper Paratus or Always Ready to operate safety and regatta patrols, which is an integral part of the Coast Guard Search and Rescue team. Auxiliarists also stand communication watches, assist during mobilization exercises, perform harbor and pollution patrols, provide platforms for unarmed boating parties, and recruit new people for the service. Every year, Auxiliarists around the country volunteer more than two million hours benefitting boaters and their families, Bopp says. Taking recruitment seriously In 1956, as a new chemical engineer researcher from Coburg, Germany, Trudy Schmidt joined the same government contractor as Bopp. A dozen patents later between them for rubber and plastic technology, the two became a crew and eventually married in 1998. Now, they live at Seabrook, in Tinton Falls, and spend almost every Sunday together on their 32-ft. Coast Guard patrol boat, Sunrise II, berthed in nearby Oceanport. The years have really flown by, and I have learned a lot, says Trudy Bopp. We do everything that the regular Coast Guard does, except law enforcement or carry firearms. As a former public affairs officer, boating course instructor, and editor of the district s magazine Over the Bow, Mrs. Bopp says that there are so many stories to tell about their volunteer service through the years, it s hard to know where to begin. We have saved 15 lives directly or indirectly and received several Coast Guard District One, Southern Region citations, Mrs. Bopp says, but September 11, 2001 was very special because we were the rescue boat for Station Sandy Hook, working in the New York Harbor ferrying police, fire, and other rescue personnel and equipment to Ground Zero because the only access to Ground Zero was by water. Lou Bopp just smiles and keeps on going, doing all his own maintenance on the boat like changing oil and filters for the engine, just like he has for the past 54 years. It s a small service, and the opportunities are great, he says. You never know what is going to happen, but when it does Semper Paratus!