Nicolas Cage was in Alabama last weekend filming his new movie “Between Worlds” and he took time to visit a U.S. Coast Guard training center. He choked back his emotions delivering a prepared speech to personally thank the brave men and women for their hurricane response efforts.

The winner of a U.N. Award for his humanitarian work and an avid fundraiser for causes from homelessness to Parkinson’s disease, and Amnesty International to child solders overseas, Cage seems to have a special empathy for those caught in the wake of hurricanes, having donated a million dollars following the destruction from Katrina.

He arrived in Mobile to talk to a small crowd of Coast Guard service members and their families who have been involved with rescue efforts after Hurricane Harvey in Texas, and Irma in the Southeast. The work of these first responders “really hit home for him.”

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The appreciation in the faces of those who listened to him speak was evident, and one man brushed away tears.

“Through the many search and rescue missions and clearing the way so citizens can evacuate, we see the compassion that our military has for its people,” he began. “The horror that these heroes experience during these search and rescue missions, will be etched in their hearts and minds forever.”

“As a family man myself, I find it hard to imagine having to say goodbye to my family not knowing if I may never see them again… I can only imagine the bravery and strength it takes, working through floodwater, going door to door looking for survivors, pulling people out of the wreckage that they used to call home.”

His voice shaking in the end, he concludes: “You are the shining example of what Lincoln called the better angels of our nature. You are the heart and soul of America. Your humanitarian effort toward your brother and sister states remind all of us how to be American.”

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“It is truly an honor to be with you, who put your lives on the line in these times of crisis, and I thank you for inviting me to be in the presence of such incredibly giant hearts and heroes.”

(WATCH the video below, courtesy of Wesley Powell, U.S.C.G. Aviation Training Center, Mobile)

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