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Council honors heroics of seaman stationed on Maui

Seaman Theodore Kirkbride stands outside the U.S. Coast Guard Station Maui in Maalaea with his ceremonial resolution from the Maui County Council. LOIS WHITNEY photo

The Maui News

A U.S. Coast Guard seaman who helped save a snorkeler and tow stranded boaters to safety was honored Friday by the Maui County Council.

Seaman Theodore Kirkbride was presented with a ceremonial resolution for being honored as the U.S. Coast Guard’s “Enlisted Person of the Year 2021.” Kirkbride, who is assigned to Coast Guard Station Maui, has assisted in more than 15 search-and-rescue cases, saving more than 22 lives, according to the Coast Guard.

In one case, he administered lifesaving oxygen therapy to a snorkeler. He also assisted in the towing of a disabled vessel 25 miles to safety with six mariners onboard, saving an estimated $50,000 in property value.

Hailing from San Diego, Kirkbride was first assigned to Station Maui after completing Coast Guard boot camp in 2018. Upon becoming certified as a coxswain, a qualification not normally held by junior members, he created training programs to help certify three other coxswain and four boat crew members, enhancing Station Maui’s ability to respond to emergencies.

Kirkbride has also volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Maui, where he spends time surfing and skateboarding with his “little brother” Aldrej, and helped out with the nonprofit Our Kupuna, where he talks story with homebound senior Eddie.

“Seaman Kirkbride has brought honor to our entire community through his exemplary service and leadership,” said Council Member Tasha Kama, who initiated the ceremonial resolution. “His dedication to maritime safety and security, as well as his commitment to both our kupuna and youth, are an inspiration to me and to the council members who represent our constituents. We wish him continued success in his Coast Guard career and his personal aspirations.”

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