Not in our town

Story provided by Chief Petty Officer Jason Miller

Photos by Leigh Anne Stump

RIO VISTA, Calif. - Members of the community and Coast Guardsmen take a group photo after a one-mile Walk for the Awareness and Prevention of Sexual Assault and Harassment in Rio Vista in conjunction with Paint Rio Vista Teal event, Photo by Leigh Anne Stump.

RIO VISTA, Calif. – Members of the community and Coast Guardsmen take a group photo after a one-mile Walk for the Awareness and Prevention of Sexual Assault and Harassment in Rio Vista in conjunction with Paint Rio Vista Teal event, Photo by Leigh Anne Stump.

As April ends, many will walk along to the next month’s awareness initiative. Before this month ends at midnight, and with it Sexual Assault Awareness Month, prevention and awareness for sexual assault must continue throughout the year until the scourge of sexual assault ends, period.  To that end, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft called his Coast Guardsmen to action this year with the theme, “Not in our Coast Guard.”

Earlier this month on April 4, members of Coast Guard Station Rio Vista answered the commandant’s call and hit the streets of Rio Vista, California. The crewmembers gathered at the foot of Main Street overlooking the Sacramento River. Wearing their service dress blues uniforms and joined by members of the local community, they gathered for the second annual Paint Rio Vista Teal event. A simple event with a simple goal: walk down Main Street, hang teal ribbons and talk about sexual assault.

“I put it to the crew to come up with ideas, and when BM1 [Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class] Krista Jones came into my office with Paint Rio Vista Teal, the idea immediately struck a chord. That first year was fairly low key; the crew and a small handful of locals came out, but it started the conversation,” said Chief Petty Officer Jason Miller, officer-in-charge of Station Rio Vista.

For this year’s event, planning began much farther out, as the station’s resident artist, Seaman Skyler Harry, designed posters and the crew converged on the town hanging fliers in the windows of every office and storefront.  Attendees included members of the station’s crew, local community members, Coast Guard Auxiliary, and of particular note – the attendance of the commander of Coast Guard Sector San Francisco, Captain Greg Stump.

“This effort brought more than a hundred people out to this year’s event and accomplished its goals, as folks around town are still talking about it,” said Miller.

RIO VISTA, Calif. - Members of Coast Guard Staiton Rio Vista place teal ribbons on park benches and sign posts during the one-mile Walk for the Awareness and Prevention of Sexual Assault and Harassment in Rio Vista in conjunction with Paint Rio Vista Teal event, Saturday, April 4, 2015. Photo by Leigh Anne Stump.

RIO VISTA, Calif. – Members of Coast Guard Staiton Rio Vista place teal ribbons on park benches and sign posts during the one-mile Walk for the Awareness and Prevention of Sexual Assault and Harassment in Rio Vista in conjunction with Paint Rio Vista Teal event, Saturday, April 4, 2015. Photo by Leigh Anne Stump.

The station plans to grow the event in the future to add more events for the month, such as first responders basketball tournament and outreach to local schools. Until then, the crewmembers of Station Rio Vista  will strive to help their community raise awareness and prevent sexual assault and harassment.The feet and hearts of thousands walk together with one pledge:

Not in our town.

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