Our Local Coast Guard: the Lacy family

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Submitted/Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin Lacy and his wife Mandy stand with their children Leland, 7, and Blayne, 5 months old. Submitted/Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin Lacy and his wife Mandy stand with their children Leland, 7, and Blayne, 5 months old.

Get to know your local Coast Guard through a monthly installment featuring locally stationed Coast Guard members.

This summer, while people are out enjoying the water and warm temperatures, Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin Lacy, a native of Leesburg, Va., will be standing the watch with his shipmates at Coast Guard Station Atlantic City.

Serving as a small-boat coxswain and boarding team officer, Lacy stands ready to respond to any search and rescue emergency. Lacy, along with a boat crew, will also spend the summer on underway patrols; conducting vessel boardings to help ensure people are being safe on the water.

“When we board a boat we are not looking to ruin anybody’s good time,” he said. “We want to make sure people have the correct safety equipment aboard, children are wearing their lifejackets – as required by law – and the boat driver is not drinking alcohol. Our priority is to keep everyone on the water safe.”

The crew at Station Atlantic City provides search and rescue, law enforcement and environmental protection for an area of approximately 250 square miles of ocean, back bays and inlets around Atlantic City.

Lacy has served locally since he joined the Coast Guard in 2005.

After basic training, he was stationed aboard the Coast Guard Cutter William Tate, a Philadelphia-based buoy tender responsible for maintenance of 250 buoys in the Delaware Bay and River, and the Upper Chesapeake Bay, Coast Guard Station Manasquan Inlet, Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, and now, the boat station in Atlantic City.

It was through his Coast Guard service, and a couple of unique coincidences, how he met his wife, Mandy.

Much like active duty military service members, Mandy, who is a Florida native, moved many times before she found her home in New Jersey. His wife’s family moved a lot because of a different type of service ¾ her father serves in the ministry.

Although she is a civilian, she also had a very emotional Coast Guard connection before she even met her husband.

“My brother, Michael Bovill, served in the Coast Guard,” she said. He was 23 years old in 2010 when he died in an off-duty motorcycle accident.”

She said her brother joined the Coast Guard to save lives, and he ended up doing that in both life and death.

“Michael saved five lives through organ donation,” she said. “We ended up meeting four out of the five people who received my brother’s organs. One of the men, who got Michael’s lungs, even has a daughter now. “

Justin never actually met Mandy’s brother, but while he was stationed at the Air Station in Atlantic City one of his shipmates set it up for him to live with a local family – who happened to be his wife’s aunt and uncle.

“About six months after Michael passed away, I went to my aunt and uncle’s house – where Justin had been living - for Easter dinner, and met Justin there,” she said. “We dated for about a year and a half and then got married.”

“Our relationship flourished through our shared faith,” her husband said.  “Our faith was one of the biggest things that drew us together.”

When the Virginia native is not on duty at the Coast Guard station, he is spending time with his wife and their two children, 7-year-old son, Leland, and 5-month-old daughter, Blayne. The Lacy family is also very involved with the Highland Community Church in Galloway, where their involvement brings a strong foundation of emotional support.

“Military service is tough for the whole family,” he said. “I am grateful for our nearby family and our church community. And I am proud of Mandy, she is sacrificing for her country in a lot of the same ways an active duty member does.”

“I am proud of him,” Mandy said. “Look for him on the water this summer. He will be out there!”

Read previous installments HERE.

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