Two Northeast-based Coast Guard petty officers were chosen as the 2017 active duty enlisted person of the year and reserve enlisted person of the year for the First Coast Guard District.
Petty Officer 1st Class John Joeckel, a marine science technician assigned to the Incident Management Division at Sector Northern New England, was selected at the First Coast Guard District’s Enlisted Person of the Year.
Joeckel was recognized for his work during several high-profile pollution investigations and as a federal on-scene coordinator representative during an ammonia release onboard a fishing vessel in downtown Portland, Maine, and during a 3,000-gallon oil spill on the Fore River, Maine. He conducted 125 pollution responses and investigations across Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Joeckel was also selected by Coast Guard Headquarters to serve on a workgroup that overhauled Coast Guard pollution responder training. He also volunteered 550 hours at a local food pantry, formed an advisory board, organized fundraisers which raised $10,000 and increased the food pantry’s ability to serve 800 families.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Jeffrey Melitski, a maritime enforcement specialist assigned to the Enforcement Division at Sector New York, was selected at the First Coast Guard District’s Reserve Enlisted Person of the Year.
He was recognized for being among the first reservists to volunteer for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. During his deployment to the Coast Guard’s Seventh District, he used his skills as an emergency medical technician to assist in the rescue of a late-term and high-risk pregnant patient. His quick action and experience led to the safe transfer of both the patient and unborn child when they were air-lifted from Puerto Rico to Miami. In December 2017 and while off duty, Melitski courageously ran into his neighbor’s home when he noticed it was on fire and immediately assisted with the safe evacuation of all the residents.
“It is always difficult choosing only two members from the large pool of talented and dedicated enlisted personnel here in the First District,” said Master Chief Petty Officer Jason Griffin, First Coast Guard District command master chief. “However, Petty Officers Joeckel and Melitski epitomize the spirit of the award.”
The Coast Guard Enlisted Person of the Year Program recognizes exemplary performance by the men and woman from the active and reserve enlisted workforce. Nominees reflect the spirit of pride, professionalism and dedication and have demonstrated exceptional performance in the areas of leadership, job skills, personal and work ethics, Coast Guard knowledge, uniform appearance, military bearing, and community relations.