Paul Cormier, Chief Petty Officer
Port Clinton, Ohio
Chief Petty Officer Paul Cormier was in a small village Haiti – where he had established the Soleil Foundation to help educate Haitian children at a school for orphans – when the January 12, 2010 earthquake struck.
Meeting a Coast Guard team that had been deployed to help with the relief efforts and provide security at the port, the Creole-fluent Cormier was activated as a Haitian liaison for the Coast Guard.
Over the next three months, Chief Cormier established a first-aid and triage center for more than 300 victims. Drawing on his expertise as a certified professional emergency manager, Chief Cormier stood up a community response team and worked closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide food and medical supplies to approximately 5,000 orphans.
Chief Cormier, a Coast Guard reservist based in Ohio, has continued his volunteer work in Haiti with the Soleil Foundation. His recent work has included the construction of a five-classroom primary school, built in memory of a child who perished in the earthquake and scheduled to open this month. He also teaches emergency management classes across the United States.
For more than 220 years, the Coast Guard has safeguarded America’s maritime interests and natural resources on our rivers and ports, in the coastal regions, on the high seas, and around the world. The Coast Guard saves those in peril and protects the nation’s maritime border, marine transportation system, natural resources, and the environment.