New England Coast Guard District enlisted person of the year meets with Commander-in-Chief in Boston

Boatswains Mate 1st Class Peter Thurston, 36, from Montpelier, Vt., is the 2010 Enlisted Person of the Year from the First Coast Guard District. Thurston is currently serving aboard the CGC Sanibel, home ported in Woods Hole, Mass. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer First Class Matthew Belson

Petty Officer 1st Class Peter Thurston. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer Matthew Belson

Story and photo by Petty Officer Matthew Belson

 

There is the boss, and then there is the Boss.

Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Peter Thurston had a chance to meet his Commander-in-Chief, Tuesday, March 8 when President Barack Obama visited Massachusetts and spoke at the Tech Boston School.

Thurston and other local firefighters, EMTs and police officers were invited to meet briefly with the president during his visit.

Recently, the 36-year-old Thurston, from Montpelier, Vt., was notified that he had been selected as the 2010 Enlisted Person of the Year for the First Coast Guard District and invited to meet the president.

Thurston was selected out of 11 fellow active duty enlisted members within the First Coast Guard District nominated for the Enlisted Person of the Year award. Similar nominations and selections were made throughout the remaining districts around the country. Those selected will compete for the Coast Guard Enlisted Person of the Year award. The opportunity is also open to reservists who are nominated for the Reserve Enlisted Person of the Year award.

Thurston has been in the Coast Guard for more than nine years and says he was motivated to join the service after the terrorist attacks during 9/11. During his Coast Guard career Thurston spent much of his service aboard 110-foot patrol boats and is currently a member of the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Sanibel, home ported in Woods Hole, Mass. Typically there are two Boatswain’s Mate 1st Classes aboard the Sanibel, however, due to crew turnover Thurston has been handling the responsibilities for both positions in the operations department and the deck department.

In supporting his nomination for the Enlisted Person of the Year award Thurston’s commanding officer Lt. Kathryn McCormack highlighted in the citation his: “selfless personal sacrifices, exemplary performance and commitment to the Coast Guard.” McCormack emphasized Thurston’s willingness to take on additional duties on the boat. As a mentor to junior petty officers and the unit’s training petty officer, Thurston was praised in his commitment to develop the skills and confidence of his shipmates. As the unit’s health coordinator Thurston was recognized for his desire to improve the health and wellbeing of the crew and even working with a shipmate to lose weight in a healthy process to conform to the services weight standards.

“It’s definitely a huge honor and I am flattered that my command would put me in for this [award],” said Thurston.

When it was announced the president would be visiting the region, Thurston was given permission to travel to Boston for the event. At the school, Thurston and the other guests waited in a room for the president to arrive. When President Obama entered he greeted everyone individually.

“He just thanked me for my service,” said Thurston. “It was definitely cool and a good trip.”

The final award winners of the Coast Guard 2010 Enlisted Person of the Year and Reserve Enlisted Person of the Year will be announced this spring.

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