Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: ME1 Jeff Melitski

Written by Petty Officer 3rd Class Hunter Medley

Petty Officer 1st Class Jeff Melitski shows off his Reserve Enlisted Person of the Year award. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Petty Officer 1st Class Jeff Melitski shows off his Reserve Enlisted Person of the Year award. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

The Coast Guard prides itself on honor, respect and devotion to duty for the men and women in its ranks. Once a year, a member of the Coast Guard is selected as the top performer in the service for the active duty and the reserve component through the enlisted person of the year program.

For 2017, the Coast Guard recently selected New Jersey native Petty Officer 1st Class Jeff P. Melitski as the Coast Guard Reserve Enlisted Person of the Year.

Melitski, a maritime enforcement specialist assigned to the Enforcement Division at Sector New York, was recognized for being among the first reservists to volunteer for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

During his deployment to the 7th and 8th Coast Guard Districts, Melitski displayed outstanding courage when he used his skills as an emergency medical technician to assist in the rescue of a late-term and high-risk pregnant patient.

Melitski overcame scarce resources and limited time to obtain the essential medical equipment necessary for the rescue. His quick action and experience led to the safe transfer of both the patient and unborn child when they were airlifted from Borinquen, Puerto Rico, to Miami.

However, rescuing this soon-to-be mother in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico was not the first time Melitski demonstrated his true character. In December 2017, he displayed additional courage when he noticed fire coming from his neighbor’s house. Melitski ran into the smoke-filled home and immediately assisted with the safe evacuation of the elderly resident.

In his spare time when he is not running to the rescue of a person in need, Melitski serves as a role model to his peers and embodies the Coast Guard’s core values of honor, respect and devotion to duty in the community. This includes contributing over 200 hours to philanthropic causes like the Police Association Survivor and Widows Fund, Toys for Tots, and the Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program. During his off hours in the community, Melitski can be found also volunteering his time coaching local youth football and baseball.

Official photo of Petty Officer 2nd Class Jeff Melitski before he was advanced to petty officer first class upon receiving the Reserve Enlisted Person of the Year award in April 2018. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Official photo of Petty Officer 2nd Class Jeff Melitski before he was advanced to petty officer first class upon receiving the Reserve Enlisted Person of the Year award in April 2018. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

The Coast Guard has many that not only embody the core values, but also come from vast backgrounds. Although backgrounds and experiences differ, one experience that enlisted Coast Guard members have is that they all come through Training Center Cape May regardless of age. Some are fresh out of high school while others have more seasoned life experiences.

Nineteen years ago, Melitski reached one of his lifelong dreams when he became a police officer. He wanted to do something good whether it was defending the peace or helping those in a moment of need. However, Melitski also had another lifelong dream in wanting to serve not only his community but to serve his country.

Just shy of his 39th birthday, Melitski found himself fulfilling this desire to serve when he arrived at Cape May as the oldest male recruit at the time. And he was happy to be there.

“So much fulfillment has come from being a member in the Coast Guard with the many talented individuals in this service,” said Melitski. “Being able to be part of something bigger than oneself is a tremendous honor in being able to serve this country.”

Melitski was recognized for his dedication to service and country as a Coast Guard reservist during an enlisted person of the year ceremony on April 18, 2018, at the same place he began his Coast Guard journey in Cape May, New Jersey. The annual ceremony awards one active duty enlisted member and one reserve enlisted member.

Selection is based on display of pride, professionalism, and dedication of Coast Guard core values, and is decided on annually by a panel of master chief petty officers, led by the master chief petty officer of the coast guard.

As a result of being recognized as the Coast Guard Reserve Enlisted Person of the Year, Melitski also received a field promotion to petty officer first class during the ceremony.

Through his dedication and professionalism, Melitski serves as a role model to his peers and embodies the Coast Guard’s core values of honor, respect and devotion to duty.

Do you know someone who embodies the Coast Guard Core Values of Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty? Please submit your nominations using the by emailing the Social Media team.

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