Boca Raton Resident to be recognized by Coast Guard for rescue efforts

LAKE WORTH INLET, Fla. -- Petty Officer 3rd Class Dustin Bernatovich (AST) from Air Station Miami looks out of the HH-65C Dolphin helicopter before jumping out of the aircraft again during a search and rescue demonstration at Coast Guard Station Lake Worth Inlet, Fla., May 19.  The demonstration coincides with the first day of National Boating Safety Week across the nation.  Coast Guard photo by PA1 Dana Warr.

USCG File Photo

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. – The Coast Guard will be holding an award ceremony at 9 a.m. Thursday at Coast Guard Station Lake Worth Inlet, to recognize Boca Raton resident Lee Kellerman.

Kellerman, a boat captain with the commercial salvage organization Sea Tow Palm Beach, will be presented with a Coast Guard Meritorious Public Service Award for his actions November 20, 2010, in rescuing three men from the water 10 miles north of Boca Raton Inlet.

Upon hearing of a vessel in distress, Kellerman volunteered to assist and diverted to the position of the 25-foot pleasure craft that was taking on water. A rescue boat from Station Lake Worth Inlet and a rescue helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Miami also launched to assist. Kellerman arrived at the location and the rescue helicopter guided him to the spot of the three men, who were in the water near their capsized vessel. Kellerman single-handedly brought the men onboard his vessel and provided the Coast Guard with an immediate assessment of their condition. Once the men were transferred to a Boca Raton police marine vessel, Kellerman diverted to the capsized vessel and safely brought it back to shore.

The Coast Guard Meritorious Public Service Award is the second-highest public service award and is given to recognize unusual courage in advancing a Coast Guard mission and providing specific individual accomplishments that provide a unique benefit to the public.

Capt. Christopher P. Scraba, Coast Guard Sector Miami Commander, will present the award on behalf of Rear Adm. William Baumgartner, Commander, Seventh Coast Guard District.

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