Rescued By Coast Guard As Child, Reason Man Joins Unit
Orlando Morel and his mother left Haiti when he was just 6 years old on a crowded small wooden boat destined for America. Morel, now 24 will never forget when the Coast Guard showed up and rescued him, his mother and other passengers.
That rescue led Morel to join the Coast Guard, and on Wednesday he will graduate from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut. He has been assigned to a cutter out of Florida whose mission will include migrant interdiction in the very waters where Morel was rescued nearly two decades ago.
Tony McDade, chief of Morel's company at the academy, said "When he told me his story, I thought, wow, this is like something out of a Hollywood movie," McDade said. "It's not something he advertises. He's very humble about it."
"I just fell in love with the Coast Guard," Morel said.
"What I tell myself is I was given an opportunity and my life was saved by the Coast Guard," Morel said. "I feel it's better to be alive and shipping back to Haiti than being abandoned out at sea and pretty much starving to death or dying of dehydration."
For more information about the U.S. Coast Guard and it's mission here in Western New York and the Great Lakes click here.