Coast Guard awards Public Safety Commendation Award to Towboat U.S. Captain

MARATHON, Fla. -  Capt. Pat DeQuattro, commanding officer of Coast Guard Sector Key West, Fla., presents Tow Boat U. S. Capt. Kevin Freestone with the Coast Guard Public Service Commendation Award as Karri Larson looks on, January 5, 2011.  The Coast Guard presented the award to Freestone, a 14-year resident of the Florida Keys, in recognition of his response to assist Larson, a severely injured kayaker who suffered a punctured lung and broken ribs as a result of a fish strike in the vicinity of Howe Key, Fla. U. S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Anna K. Dixon.

Capt. Pat DeQuattro presents Tow Boat U. S. Capt. Kevin Freestone with the Coast Guard Public Service Commendation Award. USCG photo by Lt. Anna K. Dixon.

MARATHON, Fla. – The Coast Guard presented Tow Boat U. S. Captain Kevin Freestone with a U. S. Coast Guard Public Safety Commendation Award at Coast Guard Station Marathon Wednesday.

Freestone, a 14-year resident of the Florida Keys, received the award in recognition of his response to a severely injured kayaker who suffered a punctured lung and broken ribs as a result of a fish strike in the vicinity of Howe Key, Fla.

The water was too shallow for a Coast Guard smallboat crew to assist, but Freestone was able to maneuver into the shallow water, pulling the kayaker onto his boat and later transferring her to Dolphin Marina in Little Torch Key, Fla., for immediate transport to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami.

Freestone, who has worked for Tow Boat U. S. for more than 10 years, has an area of responsibility that covers the waters from the middle of the Seven Mile Bridge to Geiger Key, Fla.

“A lot of it is just towing boats, but I get the most enjoyment out of just helping people out,” said Freestone when accepting the award.

The Coast Guard Public Service Commendation is intended primarily to recognize recipients’ courage or initiative in advancing one or more of the Coast Guard’s missions in a limited geographical area.

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