9th Coast Guard District names enlisted persons of the year for Great Lakes region

9th Coast Guard District NewsCLEVELAND — The 9th Coast Guard District, headquartered in Cleveland, announced Monday its 2011 Enlisted Person of the Year and Reserve Enlisted Person of the Year award recipients.

Petty Officer 1st Class Bethannie Kittrell, a boatswain’s mate stationed at Coast Guard Station Belle Isle, in Detroit, is the active-duty EPOY, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Anthony Lewandowski, an investigator assigned to the Coast Guard Investigative Service-Central Region office in Chicago is the Reserve EPOY. Kittrell is a native of Columbus, Ohio, while Lewandowski hails from Chicago.

“These two individuals represent the epitome of our core values of honor, respect and devotion to duty,” said Master Chief Petty Officer Jeffrey D. Patton, the 9th District’s command master chief. “They were chosen from a group of highly qualified nominees from units around the 9th District and serve as exceptional examples for all.”

Stretching from northern New York state to northern Minnesota, the 9th Coast Guard District encompasses the five Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence Seaway, and parts of the surrounding states, including 6,700 miles of shoreline and 1,500 miles of shared international border with Canada. Out of about 1,700 members in the district who are in the eligible enlisted rates — petty officer third class, petty officer second class, and petty officer first class — 17 were selected as candidates for these awards.

Kittrell received this award in part for demonstrating superb leadership and adaptability while acting as Station Belle Isle’s executive petty officer, a position normally reserved for a chief petty officer.

The crew of Station Belle Isle conducts search and rescue, ice rescue, law enforcement and homeland security missions throughout the Detroit River and around metropolitan Detroit. Built in 1942, Station Belle Isle has been in operation as a light station since 1881 and falls under the operational control of Coast Guard Sector Detroit.

Acting as operations petty officer, Kittrell worked proactively with Canadian, federal, state and local agencies to strengthen partnerships and enhance the law enforcement presence along our shared border with Canada and throughout the critical infrastructure around Detroit. Outside of her duties as a Coast Guardsman, Kittrell actively volunteers in the community as a children’s t-ball coach.

“Receiving this award is a big honor for me, and I really appreciate just being nominated for something like this,” said Kittrell. “Even though I may be the one receiving the award, it wouldn’t be possible without my shipmates at Station Belle Isle — we are all part of the same team.”

Lewandowski was recognized for organizing and leading the first multi-agency maritime effort to detect, deter and defeat potential terrorism and criminal activity targeting tour boats on the Chicago River and the downtown business district.

As a member of the Shipmaster’s Association, Lewandowski educated members on waterway safety and security. He promoted cooperation between vessel masters and the Coast Guard to help detect criminal activity on the waterways.

In his free time, Lewandowski is actively engaged with the Boy Scouts of America and is pursuing a doctorate in organizational leadership from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

“This is a very humbling experience for me,” said Lewandowski. “It is representative of everyone’s hard work, whether we are recognized or not. This is for all those who serve the community, nation and world as a whole.”

Ceremonies to officially recognize Kittrell and Lewandowski will occur at a later date.

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