Seaman Theodore Kirkbride has been named the Coast Guard’s Enlisted Person of the Year while assigned to Coast Guard Station Maui.
Kirkbride is originally from San Diego and a graduate from Mount Carmel High School; upon completing Coast Guard basic training in Cape May, New Jersey, in 2018, he received orders to Station Maui where he developed his love for emergency response.
“I joined the Coast Guard seeking adventure, however, since reporting to my first unit, my whole purpose behind joining has changed dramatically,” said Kirkbride. “I realized how much we are able to do for the community; I may have joined for adventure, but I’m staying because I feel like I can help build better communities.”
Kirkbride displayed sound leadership, judgment, and maturity while assigned to Station Maui. He has earned qualifications not normally held by junior members such as coxswain, the person in charge of a boat, specifically its navigation and steering, for the station's small and medium response boats.
As a nationally registered EMT, Kirkbride used his medical skills on several medical calls. He also provided first aid training to the unit and assisted in maintaining the unit’s medical response kits.
Kirkbride has assisted in over 15 search and rescue cases, saving over 22 lives. In one of the cases, he used his training and experience to administer life-saving oxygen therapy to a snorkeler. Additionally, Kirkbride assisted in the towing of a disabled vessel 25 miles to safety with six mariners onboard, saving an estimated $50,000 in property value.
During an unusually high transfer season, Kirkbride displayed unparalleled initiative. He created training programs certifying three coxswains and four boat crewmembers, which enhanced Station Maui’s ability to maintain readiness.
“Currently I’m in boatswain’s mate A-School; I will be returning to Station Maui and hopefully be able to grow in my abilities as a coxswain and learn how to train my shipmates to better perform our mission,” said Kirkbride. “While in the Coast Guard, I hope to establish more community outreach programs, especially working with at-risk youth in Maui County, I’m working with the Big Brother Big Sister program to set up a ride-along program at my unit.”
As a volunteer in the peer-driven stress management group, Critical Incident Stress Management, or CISM, Kirkbride led grief counseling sessions in the county of Maui to over 300 participants, including the mayor of Maui.
He has dedicated more than 100 hours volunteering with the Big Brother Big Sister of Maui program, once a week he spends time surfing and skateboarding with his Little Brother, Aldrej. He can also be found enjoying humorous conversations with his friend Eddie, a home-bound senior from the non-profit Our Kupuna, who serve the elderly community throughout Hawaii.
“Kirkbride is an outstanding role model here at the unit, his leadership and commitment to others at Station Maui is inspirational,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Malia Chasteen, officer in charge for Coast Guard Station Maui. “He is consistently and selflessly giving back to the members here at the unit and within the community in which we serve; he truly embodies esprit de corps and is most deserving of this recognition as the Coast Guard’s Enlisted Person of the Year.”