The Coast Guard prides itself on honor, respect and devotion to duty for the men and women in its ranks. Once a year, a member of the Coast Guard is selected as the top performer in the service for the active duty and the reserve component through the enlisted person of the year program.
For 2017, the Coast Guard recently selected New Jersey native Petty Officer 1st Class Jeff P. Melitski as the Coast Guard Reserve Enlisted Person of the Year.
Melitski, a maritime enforcement specialist assigned to the Enforcement Division at Sector New York, was recognized for being among the first reservists to volunteer for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
During his deployment to the 7th and 8th Coast Guard Districts, Melitski displayed outstanding courage when he used his skills as an emergency medical technician to assist in the rescue of a late-term and high-risk pregnant patient.
Melitski overcame scarce resources and limited time to obtain the essential medical equipment necessary for the rescue. His quick action and experience led to the safe transfer of both the patient and unborn child when they were airlifted from Borinquen, Puerto Rico, to Miami.
However, rescuing this soon-to-be mother in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico was not the first time Melitski demonstrated his true character. In December 2017, he displayed additional courage when he noticed fire coming from his neighbor’s house. Melitski ran into the smoke-filled home and immediately assisted with the safe evacuation of the elderly resident.