Members of the Coast Guard Ninth District paid tribute to a longtime South Haven man who played an integral role with the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary in South Haven for nearly 50 years. Auxiliary members and Coast Guard members from the St. Joseph station honored the late Ben Plachta in a memorial ceremony, Saturday, Sept. 25 at the Northside Marina on the Black River where the auxiliary is stationed. U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary bagpipe players Cathie Slabaugh of Toledo, Ohio and Lacee Hudec of Hampshire, Ill., led the procession to the Coast Guard vessel where a wreath was placed into the river in tribute to Plachta. Dale Lewis (right), Flotilla commander for the Coast Guard Auxiliary, along with Boatswain Mate Third Class Adam Summerville (left) from the St. Joseph Coast Guard station, placed the wreath in the water. Plachta, who died Aug. 31, 2020, served with the Coast Guard Auxiliary in South Haven from 1972 until 2020. Prior to that he served in the United States Navy for four years and retired as manager from Michigan Bell Telecommunications where he had worked for 35 years. He also served as commodore of the Riverbend Boat Club in South Haven for 16 years.