Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, 30 miles from Grand Rapids, USCG Station Grand Haven is a historic component of the US Coast Guard’s Sector Lake Michigan. The station houses 31 active duty and 10 reserve members, whose primary mission is search and rescue, law enforcement, ice rescue, and homeland security defense operations.
The Grand Haven Station has a lengthy history of protection on Michigan’s west coast, going back to 1860. On December 9th, 1860 the schooner Vermont faced one of Lake Michigan’s famous winter storms. Seeking safe passage at Port Sheldon, less than ten miles from Grand Haven, the Vermont missed the channel opening and wrecked on the bars. With the waves continuing to pummel the now vulnerable hull, the crew escaped into the ship’s rigging in order to survive. Thankfully, First Mate Richard Connell took it on himself to brave the cold stormy waters, swimming ashore with a line so that the remaining eighteen men could safely find a way to shore. Eleven years later, Connell was the Captain of the Grand Haven Life Saving Crew, predecessor to Station Grand Haven.
Each coin measures 1 3/4 inch (44mm) in diameter.