2010 coastguard Times
Honorable Mentions

HS1 Matthew Reines

Married to Alyssa; children Cameron, 9, Kaylyn, 7, and Kamille, 2.

On the job and in his off hours, Health Services Technician 1st Class Matthew Reines lives the Coast Guard motto, "Semper paratus": He's always ready to serve others.

Whether he's treating crew members of the seagoing buoy tender Hickory and their families, responding to an alarm as a volunteer firefighter or answering the call of a remote neighbor as an emergency medical technician, he's responsible for the welfare of hundreds of people in south-central Alaska.

Along with keeping his crew healthy, Reines qualified as buoy deck supervisor, authorizing him to run Hickory's buoy deck operations, a job normally done by senior boatswain's mates.

"He could have easily just relaxed after the workday, but his outstanding initiative and tireless work ethic inspired him to accept more responsibility," Hickory commanding officer Lt. Cmdr. Jonathan Musman wrote in nominating Reines.

While Hickory is in port, Reines volunteers as a firefighter and EMT, but also spends time with his kids, coaches their teams and takes them camping.

Reines also trained Coast Guard spouses in CPR and led the cutter's scholarship selection committee to award a high school senior $1,000. He volunteered for Hickory's haunted ship Halloween event, which collected 2,800 pounds of food — the biggest donation received by the Homer food pantry in 2009.

"He is the one person aboard that each and every person admires for his tireless efforts ... and his devotion to the community," Musman wrote.

MST3 Nicole Tainatongo

She's working on an associate degree in early childhood education.

When vessels arrive at the Port of Lake Charles, La., about 30 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, odds are they'll check in with Marine Science Technician 3rd Class Nicole Tainatongo.

Tainatongo coordinated safety and securities examinations for the more than 1,800 vessels that visited the port last year. She acted as a liaison between vessel agents, crews, representatives of foreign governments, and several local and federal agencies. After two years at the command, she has a reputation for getting things done.

"She performed this work with a sense of professionalism in line with the most senior members of our service," her commanding officer, Lt. Cmdr. Robert Compher, wrote in her nomination.

As part of the Coast Guard's response efforts in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Tainatongo was dispatched to Mobile, Ala., where she spent three weeks "walking the beaches" as the federal representative to the Mississippi shoreline cleanup assessment team.

Thanks to Tainatongo's passion for fitness, she was prepared for all that walking. As her marine safety unit's health promotion coordinator, she gets fellow service members excited about staying fit. All of the unit's 70 members are within weight standards, Compher wrote.

For two years, she has coached a girls' volleyball team at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic School in Lake Charles. She regularly visits schools as a mentor and to talk about Coast Guard careers.