Members of the Washington, D.C. Chapter of the Coast Guard’s Chief Warrant and Warrant Officers Association came together to “take care of our own”– medically-retired Lt. Diana Isadore.
Isadore, who joined the Coast Guard in 2006, was the first known woman from St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, to graduate the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn. She served in New Orleans, Miami and, most recently, at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Eternally busy and seeking challenges, Diana finished two master’s degrees, and, in her spare time, took trips with a travel group. While visiting Panama one weekend in January 2015, she was injured in a tour group accident that caused two fatalities.
Doctors placed her in a medically-induced coma while she fought off infections and underwent surgeries for multiple bone fractures. She was eventually moved from Panama to Miami and from there to the Polytrauma Unit at the McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond, Va.
Last year, the CWOA DC Chapter received word about Diana. The group banded together and hosted a 5K run/walk for 200 people, which raised more than $2,000 for her.
“When you meet Diana, you just know, this is what it’s all about,” said Chief Warrant Officer John Caicedo, former president of the D.C. CWOA and organizer of the race last year. “Her smile makes you want to do more to help.”
The president of the DC CWOA, Chief Warrant Officer Don Wiley, agreed. “People come out of the woodwork for this race,” said Wiley. “We get everyone involved, and so many people end up donating to Diana’s event, even if they don’t participate. It makes you feel good to know that even when you leave the Coast Guard, you’re always part of the family.”
This year, the they more than doubled their contributions to support Diana, raising $5,000. Working with friend of the family and Diana’s former co-worker Marty Drake, the warrant corps went one step further. They invited Diana’s family, who came out to run, and Delegate to Congress Stacey Plaskett, who, along with Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft, was part of the race’s grand opening.
Plaskett highlighted how the Coast Guard supported the people of the USVI in its response to the 2017 hurricane season, and how it continued to support Diana.
During the presentations, Marty Drake thanked Wiley and Caicedo for spearheading the race effort. He also thanked another chief warrant officer, Tony Winstead, a 25-year veteran of the Coast Guard Reserve who works at McGuire as Diana’s head nurse.
“She’s my shipmate,” said Winstead, a member of the Atlantic Strike Team who is currently serving as the safety officer for the Hurricane Harvey response.
At Diana’s facility, three other military families have been dealing with the effects of TBI on their loved ones. Three of the D.C. CWOA warrants ran the 5K with pictures of those members pinned to their respective race shirts. They honored Bryce Powers (who later died of his injuries), Jesse Williams and David Rogers.
Diana’s long-term prognosis remains challenging, and she continues on the road to recovery, and the D.C. CWOA remains dedicated to helping her get there.