PEELER: State Grads Help With Flyover at FSU
BY TIM PEELER
RALEIGH, N.C. – Andy Greenwood plans to take the Florida State hat he will be handed between the third and fourth quarters of Saturday's NC State-Florida State football game at Doak Campbell Stadium.
But it probably won't be long until he replaces it with the red-and-white NC State hat he plans to wear the rest of the game.
Greenwood and his wife Jennifer are both stationed with the Coast Guard in Mobile, Ala., where they help patrol the Gulf of Mexico and its shoreline from Houston to Panama City, Fla. They happily volunteered to coordinate Saturday's pre-game flyover of two Coast Guard search and rescue helicopters.
But, Andy Greenwood secretly admits, he did it mainly because he wanted the Wolfpack to have a couple more devoted fans inside the stadium. The Greenwoods both graduated from NC State with degrees in history and moved to Alabama to join the Coast Guard.
"I volunteered to coordinate the flyover they had scheduled for Homecoming when I found out NC State was going to be the opponent," said Andy Greenwood, a native of Benson, N.C.
In January, he had the sad and difficult task of searching the Gulf for former NC State football player Corey Smith, who was presumed to have been lost at sea after the small fishing boat he was in with three friends capsized in rough waters, some 120 miles from Clearwater, Fla.
"When we first got word who was out there, I knew who he was and that he had played football at NC State," Greenwood said. "It had special meaning that I may be going out after someone I may have seen on campus or had seen play at Carter-Finley."
He'll think about that mission Saturday afternoon as he and his fellow pilots are celebrated for the work they do, which includes search-and-rescue, Homeland Security and patrolling the waters off the coast of Florida.
"We never forget why we are out here, who our customers are or who we are serving," said Greenwood, an eight-year veteran of the Coast Guard and a local Wolfpack Club representative.
Jennifer Greenwood, a native of Winston-Salem, has been an operations specialist since joining the Coast Guard four years ago, shortly after she graduated from NC State. She is expecting the couple's first child in January. She will also help with the coordination of the flyover.
For Andrew Greenwood, it will be an honor, not only to represent the Coast Guard, but to also represent his alma mater - even if it is on enemy territory.
"When I was a student, I would always see the various Air Force, Marine and Navy flyovers at Carter-Finley and had no idea that I would one day get to do one myself for an NC State game," Greenwood said. "It just happens that it will be at Florida State's stadium."
You may contact Tim Peeler at email@example.com.