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Civil Rights News | June 3, 2021

Coast Guard's FAPAC 2021 Uniformed Services Award Winners Recognized

Cmdr. Hoon Park, Associate Director of Student Engagement and Diversity Outreach, U.S. Coast Guard Academy (USCGA), and Chief Petty Officer Richard Hofschneider, Emergency Management and Force Readiness, Sector Guam, were recently recognized as the 2021 Federal Asian Pacific American Council (FAPAC) Uniformed Services Award winners for the Coast Guard. The FAPAC Uniformed Services Award recognizes civilians and military members who have made significant contributions to the advancement and promotion of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI).

 

As the advisor for USCGA cadet’s Asian Pacific American Council, Cmdr. Park mentored cadets and ensured clear communication between cadets and Academy leadership. Park also volunteered as coordinator of the Academy Minority Outreach Team, which connects applicants with active duty mentors. This effort matches prospective cadets with officers of similar backgrounds and interests, which resulted in a significant increase in applications, historically high retention rates, and classes graduating the largest number of Ensigns from the AAPI community.

 

“I am really humbled by this recognition from FAPAC,” Park said in a video recorded for the FAPAC 36th National Leadership Training Program virtual awards ceremony on May 26th. “This is something I’m really passionate about and I really love to do. I’m just trying to advance the ball and get to a place where everyone feels included and belongs.”

 

Chief Petty Officer Hofschneider volunteers as a collateral duty recruiter for Guam and champions recruiting in several other countries across the region; is a Partnership in Education (PIE) coordinator; and is also an active member of the Sector’s Leadership Diversity Advisory Council (LDAC).

 

A native of Tinian, one of three main islands in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Hofschneider’s dedication to promoting the Coast Guard mission stems from his childhood on the island: “On Tinian, many people enlist in the military to serve their country and explore the world. As a child, I saw many of these brave men and women leave, but come back and do great things for the community. These individuals inspired me to join the Coast Guard, and continue to inspire me to volunteer and give back to the community.”

 

Hofschnieder’s commitment to fostering equal opportunity and inclusion within the Service resulted in increased applications for the College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative and he actively recruited over 90 underrepresented individuals to apply for acceptance into Coast Guard service last year. The roles and duties that Hofschneider undertakes, which are primarily on a volunteer basis, portrays a selfless leader who doesn’t expect much in return, especially when it comes to awards.  

 

“I feel like everything I’ve done, all of my extra duties and volunteer efforts are just a part of me doing my job. I didn’t expect any recognition for it,” Hofschneider said. “I was ecstatic and grateful when I found out that FAPAC selected me for this award. Knowing that the Coast Guard takes steps like this to recognize those who promote equal opportunity, diversity, and inclusion within the Service makes me extremely happy.”

 

All of Hofschneider’s hard work and dedication has opened up other avenues within the region, as well. Due in part to his recruiting, community service efforts, and devotion to reaching members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community throughout the region, Coast Guard Recruiting Command will reestablish a recruiting office for the Western Pacific area in 2022.

 

The primary motivators for Hofschneider’s devotion to supporting his community are his love for family and the desire to celebrate his island community with the world. “I was raised by hard working farmers as well as some of the best educators, which gave me my strong work ethic. I keep them in my thoughts and in my heart in almost anything that I do,” he said. “I love to be able to show off our island talent to the world and have our citizens gain invaluable experience by serving in the Coast Guard.”

 

Civil Rights awards like the FAPAC Uniformed Services Award helps to maximize the Coast Guard's overall mission effectiveness through recognition of members' accomplishments and contributions to Civil Rights and Equal Opportunity in minority communities and Partnership in Education (PIE) programs. 

 

Related:

May Civil Rights on Deck Newsletter

Civil Rights Awards Programs

Partnership in Education Program

Federal Asian Pacific American Council

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