Crystal Haytasingh and all the Auxiliary members and guests with smiling faces after the meal. In addition, four individuals were sworn in as new members of the Flotilla at the meeting.

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Flotilla 75, Apollo Beach, was honored at its August monthly meeting with a meal donated by Mission BBQ of Brandon. According to its website, the restaurant opened its doors on September 11, 2011. The owners felt that two things that were very American were barbecue and “the brave men and women who have sworn to protect Our Communities and Our Country.”

This is the philosophy that is the basis for the Mission’s business, noted U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary 75 member Elliott Seda. “They (Mission BBQ) certainly demonstrated this with the meal, which included pulled pork and chicken, mac n’ cheese, salads and cornbread.”

Crystal Haytasingh, its community ambassador, represented the restaurant at the meeting. “Our very own auxiliarist, Maria-Elena Taylor, donated a cake. She was also the liaison between the Flotilla and the restaurant.”

The Flotilla commander, Steve Browning, expressed appreciation to Haytasingh and Mission BBQ for the wonderful surprise and thanked them for a great meal and for honoring the men and women of Flotilla 75.

The USCG Auxiliary is the volunteer organization of the regular Coast Guard and performs many of the same duties as the regular U.S. Coast Guard. Some of these duties include patrols, search and rescue, radio watches, vessel safety checks, boating safety and seamanship courses and many others.

If you are a boater, you probably have seen the boats patrolling in Tampa Bay or at Gasparilla activities, performing safety checks at Simmons Park and marinas in the area. The Flotilla also participates in many other activities such as the Seafood Festival and the Nautical Flea Market.

This fall, the Flotilla will give boating safety presentations to children in various elementary schools in Hillsborough County. The Auxiliary is open to all men and women as young as 17 years of age.

Visit Flotilla75.org, or its Facebook page. You are also welcome to attend its meetings on the fourth Thursday of every month at 6 p.m. in the Tampa Sailing Squadron building at 1250 Apollo Beach Blvd. Please contact FC Steve Browning at 314-853-3932 or browning99@hotmail.com.