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Press Release | Nov. 28, 2023

PHOTO RELEASE: Coast Guard presents maritime partners with Public Service Awards for Golden Ray response

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BRUNSWICK, Ga. — The Coast Guard presented public service awards to maritime partners for their commendable actions during the motor vessel Golden Ray capsizing and subsequent response during a ceremony, Monday, at the Southeast Georgia Conference Center.

The public service awards recognized each individual’s commendable 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, Georgia, on Sept. 8, 2019.

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

“The bravery, heroism, and skill displayed by the Coast Guard’s Seventh District maritime partners, who stepped in quickly to save lives and prevent further damage following the Golden Ray’s capsizing in 2019, is commendable,” said Carter. “Moran Towing, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and Brunswick Harbor Pilots are more than deserving of this award and recognition.”

Presented the Coast Guard Public Service Commendation were:

  • Captain Benjamin B. Brooks, Moran Towing
  • Corporal Jonny “Jay” Bright, Georgia Department of Natural Resources
  • Sergeant Mark Carson, Georgia Department of Natural Resources
  • Connor Deaton, Moran Towing
  • Skyler D. Dionne, Moran Towing
  • Captain Jerry Donnelly, Moran Towing
  • David Fuller, Moran Towing
  • Captain, Clifton C. Gorden, Moran Towing
  • Zachary Griffis, Georgia Department of Natural Resources
  • Brett H. Hannon, Moran Towing
  • Steven C. Lee, Moran Towing
  • Captain 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 W. Williams, Moran Towing

Captain Jonathan K. Tennant with the Brunswick Pilots, and pilot aboard the 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.

The capsizing of motor vessel Golden Ray and a subsequent rescue occurred off the coast of St. Simons Island, Georgia, on Sept. 8, 2019. More information on the Golden Ray response and rescue can be found here and here.

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