Unbeknownst to Cates, the Alameda-based Coast Guard Mentoring Association nominated him for the award.
Chief Warrant Officer Cates served as an Electronics Officer for four years on Coast Guard Island in Alameda and now serves out of the Oakland Federal Building as an electronics technical authority for detached units.
Cates said it was big surprise when he got the call from the Ford Foundation advising him of the award about a week before the ceremony—he thought it was a scam at first.
“I didn’t know I had been nominated. I had no idea, walking into the event,” he told Action Alameda News.
Cates has completed 11 years of service in the Bay Area,