Coast Guard honors mariners for Golden Ray response

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(BRUNSWICK, Ga.) — The U.S. Coast Guard presented public service awards Monday to maritime partners for their commendable actions during the capsizing of the motor vessel Golden Ray and subsequent response.

The public service awards recognized each individual’s actions that resulted in the preservation of life and mitigation of environmental hazards and economic impacts during the Golden Ray capsizing and grounding in St. Simon’s Sound, Ga., on Sept. 8, 2019.

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Flames and smoke emanate from cargo decks on the starboard side of Golden Ray six hours after the ship capsized on Sept. 8, 2019. U.S. Coast Guard photo

Rear Adm. Douglas Schofield, commander, Coast Guard Seventh District, and U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter of Georgia’s 1st District presented the awards to members of Moran Towing, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Brunswick Pilots.

Receiving the Coast Guard Public Service Commendation were:

• Capt. Benjamin Brooks, Moran Towing
• Cpl. Jonny “Jay” Bright, Georgia Department of Natural Resources
• Sgt. Mark Carson, Georgia Department of Natural Resources
• Connor Deaton, Moran Towing
• Skyler Dionne, Moran Towing
• Capt. Jerry Donnelly, Moran Towing
• David Fuller, Moran Towing
• Capt. Clifton C. Gorden, Moran Towing
• Zachary Griffis, Georgia Department of Natural Resources
• Brett Hannon, Moran Towing
• Steven Lee, Moran Towing
• Capt. Clint Price, Moran Towing
• Christopher Russom, Moran Towing
• Thomas “Colte” Shaske, Georgia Department of Natural Resources
• James Stoddard, Moran Towing
• Daniel Underwood, Moran Towing
• Trenton Underwood, Moran Towing
• Ricky Williams, Moran Towing

Capt. Jonathan Tennant of the Brunswick Pilots, the pilot aboard Golden Ray when it capsized, was presented the Meritorious Public Service Award for his sound decision making and decisive actions during the incident.

“I am honored to recognize the first responders from the Georgia maritime community for their teamwork, professionalism and response during the capsizing of the motor vessel Golden Ray,” said Schofield. “Today is a mere glimpse into the incredibly selfless commitment to service embodied by the men and women of Moran Towing, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Brunswick Pilots and the Coast Guard during the incident. Thank you to Congressman Buddy Carter and his staff who were instrumental in leading the effort to ensure that this award ceremony transpired.”

The Coast Guard maintains several civilian Public Service Awards to recognize private citizens, groups, or organizations for helping the Coast Guard carry out its missions.

The Public Service Commendation is intended primarily to recognize personal and beneficial contributions to the Coast Guard’s responsibilities. Recipients of a public service commendation are recognized for having accomplished one or more of the following: courage or initiative in advancing one or more Coast Guard missions and beneficial contribution in one mission area or a limited geographical area.

The Meritorious Public Service Award, the second-highest public service award the Coast Guard may bestow, is given to recognize those who have accomplished one or more of the following: unusual courage in advancing a Coast Guard mission, substantial contribution to the Coast Guard that produced tangible results and specific individual accomplishments that provide unique benefits to the public.

– U.S. Coast Guard

By Rich Miller