Over the weekend, the U.S. Coast Guard Station in Wrightsville Beach lost an important member of its crew.
Since 2007, tours of the station have included more than boats and dedicated crew members. Kale, a faithful, friendly yellow lab, was there to greet visitors both young and young at heart.
As the station’s mascot, Kale was there not just to make guests smile, but was an integral part of the team.
“He was there for station morale,” said BMCS D. Lane Marshburn, the station’s officer in charge. “He would make the rounds in the morning when the crew came in, and when he was younger, he would sometimes come along on patrol.”
The canine also formed bonds with crew members’ families.
“The kids absolutely loved him,” Marshburn said. “They would come over during the weekends and swim and play with him. They would tire him out so much that come Monday he could barely move, but he loved it.”
Recently, movement had become harder for Kale, who according to Marshburn was at least 13 years old.
“It was tough for him to get around, and he couldn’t get himself up,” Marshburn said, adding that Kale didn’t even follow him around for treats on Sunday. “That’s how we knew it was the right decision [to put him down.]”
Kale was buried at the station next to his predecessor, St. Nick. Marshburn said a headstone will eventually be installed, and there could be a memorial service in the near future. As for his successor, there are currently no plans to get another mascot just yet.
“We’re all still feeling the loss,” Marshburn said, adding that there has been an outpouring of condolences via the station’s Facebook page. “I didn’t realize the interest there was in Kale and how many kids he made happy.”