Flotilla 8-11 installs new officers during recent ceremony

A local pre-school teacher is now in charge of the local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary flotilla.

DeAnna Rae Stewart took over as commander of Flotilla 8-11 at a change of watch ceremony earlier this month.

As commander, Stewart said her job is to make sure the flotilla is running smoothly, as well as acting as the flotilla's spokesperson with the public.

Stewart is also in charge of the flotilla's 25-foot rescue boat, which is deployed during local search and rescue efforts.

"We are one of the only flotillas in the auxiliary throughout the U.S. that gets to run a Coast Guard asset," she said. "There's another one in Alaska."

Stewart signed up for the Coast Guard Auxiliary in 2012. She joins her husband, who is a coxswain. When she's not on duty, Stewart is a pre-school teacher at Four Square Christian School and Grace Lutheran Church.

In addition to helping with search and rescue efforts, the Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 8-11 also visits local schools with the Del Norte County Sheriffs Office to talk about boat safety, Stewart said.

The flotilla's vice commander is Stevin Strickland.

Reach Jessica Cejnar at jcejnar@triplicate.com.