The spirit of serving others

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Joseph Walker, a reservist for four years at Sector Jacksonville, Fla., fires a pistol and qualifies at the range in Kings Bay, Ga., March 8, 2014. Walker was recently named Sector Jacksonville's 2013 Reserve Enlisted Person of the Year. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jourdin Bego.

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Joseph Walker, a reservist for four years at Sector Jacksonville, Fla., fires a pistol and qualifies at the range in Kings Bay, Ga. Walker was recently named Sector Jacksonville’s 2013 Reserve Enlisted Person of the Year. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jourdin Bego.

Written by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jourdin Bego.

He spends his weekdays managing his own landscaping company and his weekends patrolling the waterways surrounding Jacksonville, Fla. Those are only two of the reasons why Petty Officer 2nd Class Joseph Walker is described as a dedicated and talented Coast Guard reservist.

As a child, Walker grew up interacting with the Coast Guard while boating with his family, so his interest evolved naturally. Those experiences helped fuel his motivation, inspiring him to join the Coast Guard and serve his country.

Walker, a maritime enforcement specialist, was recently selected as Sector Jacksonville’s reserve enlisted person of the year.

The Coast Guardsmen he works alongside highlight his character, saying Walker’s recognition was well-deserved.

“Walker’s most noteworthy values are devotion to duty and loyalty,” said his supervisor, Chief Petty Officer Steve Zukowsky. “He is always available when there is a mission and you don’t have to ask him twice whenever a volunteer is needed.”

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Offiicer 2nd Class Joseph Walker, a maritime enforcement specialist, prepares to fire a rifle at the range in Kings Bay, Ga., March 8, 2014. Walker has recently been awarded Sector Jacksonville's 2013 Reserve Enlisted Person of the Year and often volunteers to go on safety boardings with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jourdin Bego.

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Joseph Walker prepares to fire a rifle at the range in Kings Bay, Ga. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jourdin Bego.

Walker also enjoys mentoring junior members. “Sharing the knowledge I have learned throughout my time in the Coast Guard is, without a doubt, my favorite aspect of maritime enforcement,” Walker said.

As Walker discusses his assignment, he says his passion for law enforcement developed when he was a teen. Enrolled at the Academy of Law and Emergency Services at Clay High School, the program gave Walker the opportunity to fire pistols, tour jails, attend court room hearings and learn a range of defensive tactics at a young age. He says the experience was central to his longstanding interest in law enforcement.

Walker juggles a busy schedule. The Green Cove Springs, Fla., native completed the Coast Guard Leadership and Management School in January. This summer, he plans to attend the Coast Guard’s Boarding Officer Practical Course in Charleston, S.C. Next fall, Walker will complete his bachelor’s degree at the University of Florida, earning a major in finance and a minor and certification in entomology.

In addition to working and studying diligently, Walker can be found improving his physical fitness by attending CrossFit classes four times a week. He also enjoys traveling: his last adventure was a trip from Jacksonville to Wyoming and back. This year, Walker plans to enjoy a long car ride to explore the three coastal western states: Washington, Oregon and California.

“Petty Officer Walker’s diverse civilian background has contributed not only to making him a better person individually, but also a well-rounded servicemember and asset to the Coast Guard Reserve,” said Zukowsky. “He has been a model reservist. He is mindful and respectful of Coast Guard traditions and takes the time to mentor juniors in his unit.”

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