Making it to 81 is a big deal.

For a person. As well as for an organization.

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary marked its 81st anniversary on Tuesday.

The all-volunteer, civilian service of the Coast Guard includes 23,000 Americans in its ranks.

Some are Alaskans. A small contingent lives in Ketchikan.

The auxiliary is made up of flotillas. The First City’s flotilla is much like others, except that it is local people and local people are special to the community.

To become a member of the flotilla, volunteers must be willing to commit untold time. They must pass background checks, as well as entrance exams and certification tests in order to be allowed to wear a Coast Guard Union. Which they do.

With proper training, they can aid in search and rescue, and they provide examinations for recreational and commercial passenger vessels, all in the interest of boating safety. They also provide boating safety classes.

It is costly in time and generous in benefits. For the volunteer who wants to be of service without quitting a day job, it is an opportunity to serve in a uniformed service and give back to the country in a meaningful and satisfying way.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary provided more than 2.4 million hours of support and offered 6,800 boating safety classes in the past year.

It’s service is evident. Although, the number of lives saved and mishaps avoided might not be as easily tallied. Because of the auxiliary, potential tragedies were avoided.

As the auxiliary acknowledges its 81st year, communities might reflect on its service and express gratitude to the civilians in uniform.

Their’s is a job well done.