HONOLULU – Recognition given to local Coast Guardsmen prove they are doing more than just enjoying time in the sun. Several recent award winning units and their crews were named the best in the Coast Guard.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Valerie Kahiikina, a yeoman and recruiter at the Coast Guard Recruiting Command by Pearl Ridge Mall, distinguished herself as the Officer Recruiter of the Year. Kahiikina, born and raised in Hawaii, set herself apart by meeting and exceeding her mission goals by more than 300 percent. Kahiikina’s role as a recruiter is discussing career options with applicants qualified to join the Coast Guard as an officer. She guides the applicants through career choices and benefits, ensuring they understand the requirements and benefits of joining the Coast Guard.

“Being honored with the Officer Recruiter of the Year award, for a facet of my job I love to do, is surprising and unexpected,” said Kahiikina. “As recruiters, our daily motivation is not how many people we can put into the Coast Guard so we can receive an award… it is putting quality people into our organization who understand our missions and believe in the Coast Guard.”

The Coast Guard Cutter Rush, a 378-foot high-endurance cutter stationed at Sand Island, competed with numerous other galleys to earn the title of Dining Facility of the Year for Large Unit Afloat. “My food service team has worked tirelessly to exceed the expectations of everyone who has had the opportunity to dine with us,” said Capt. Dana Ware, the Rush’s commanding officer.

Whatever your appetite, a casual ‘pupu’ as you fish off the fantail, to the formal affair of a change of command with your dress blue uniform, you’ll find a comfortable and approachable setting on the Rush, with both world-class food and stunning waterfront views, said Ware.

The galley awards emphasize management as well as food taste. The galley paperwork is just as important to the judges as the meal.

The Coast Guard Integrated Support Command located on Sand Island also earned a dining award, and has been named the Dining Facility of the Year for Large Unit Ashore. The ISC galley’s long list of accomplishments include adding local favorites such as “Loco Moco” for breakfast, a common Hawaiian morning meal.

Another award given to the ISC on Sand Island is to their Facilities Engineering Division. This division demonstrated exceptional environmental awareness and earned the Team Award in Source Reduction this year. The Environmental Branch of the division reworked known programs, created new training and worked closely with other units to improve the inventory and management of hazardous materials.

“We improved compliance by 50 percent and increased customer satisfaction by 70 percent. This means that our units are keeping better records of the hazardous materials they buy, use and store; correctly disposing of the hazardous materials when they’re done,” said Lt. Cmdr. Paul Rendon. “Our ultimate goal is to have 100 percent compliance and I’m sure it will happen soon. The discrepancies we’re seeing now are process related. As we continue to educate more personnel about the correct procedures our compliance rate will continue to increase.”

These steps lead to a 40 percent decrease in monthly deficiencies and over a five month period a 77 percent overall decrease was noted.

The Coast Guardsmen of District 14 are proud to be a part of the Ohana in Hawaii and prove their work list includes more than surfing.

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