Eagle Captain Received Key to City At Welcoming Ceremony Today

Captain Eric Jones Addresses The Crowd

Captain Eric Jones Addresses The Crowd

Julie Diddell and her husband, ??, Await Liberty For Their Son!
Julie Diddell and her husband, ??, Await Liberty For Their Son!
City councilor Nick Mavodones Gives Key To City To Captain Eric Jones, Eagle.
City councilor Nick Mavodones Gives Key To City To Captain Eric Jones, Eagle.

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By Carol McCracken

With the Coast Guard Barque Eagle in the background, city councilor Nick Mavodones, welcomed Captain Eric Jones and his ship to Portland.  The noontime ceremony took place at the Maine State Pier with a large crowd of onlookers present.  Some in the crowd were families and friends of the crew disembarking from the ship later in the day for some liberty.

The ceremony and exchange of gifts took place in recognition of the great working relationship between Portland and the Coast Guard.  Ms. Cheryl Leeman, representing Senator Snow’s office, said she was Mayor of Portland when the Eagle was in Portland during the Tall Ships celebration of 2000.  Currently she is a city councilor in Portland.  Councilor Mavodones, speaking on behalf of Mayor Jill Duson, recalled OP Sail 2000 as well – when the Eagle led the parade of  Tall Ships visiting Portland.  “Portland has a long history of welcoming ships into the Harbor,” he said.

Among the parents and friends waiting dockside for the Swabs to disembark to begin liberty were Julie Diddell and her husband from Westfield, New Jersey.  They were waiting and hoping that their son aboard the Eagle would be given some liberty so they could spend time with him.  “In the meantime, we are helping the local economy by eating in resturants, staying at local hotels and shopping in all the stores here,” Julie said with a big grin.  Moments late, when it was announced that indeed her son would be released within ten minutes, her smile got much larger.  Swab Diddell returns to the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut by bus tomorow afternoon.,

Stationed at the Coast Guard station is Hill resident Terence Leahy.  Leahy who lives on North Street is originally from Dublin, Ireland.  He was working in a supportive role at todays ceremony.

The Eagle is open for free public tours:  SATURDAY, August – 1 from  11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  and SUNDAY, August 2 from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.