Valdez resident honored by Coast Guard for selfless actions, rescue of fellow fishermen in Prince William Sound

Clayton Paddock, a resident of Valdez and captain of the fishing vessel Windward, was awarded a certificate of merit by Cmdr. Darryl Verfaillie, commanding officer of Marine Safety Unit Valdez, March 1 for his efforts to rescue fellow fishermen in Prince William Sound August 2010. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Clayton Paddock and Cmdr. Darryl Verfaillie with the Certificate of Merit for rescuing his fellow fishermen in Prince William Sound. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

VALDEZ, Alaska – Clayton Paddock, a resident of Valdez and captain of the fishing vessel Windward, was awarded a Certificate of Merit by Cmdr. Darryl Verfaillie, commanding officer of Marine Safety Unit Valdez, March 1 for his efforts to rescue fellow fishermen in Prince William Sound August 2010.

Paddock and his crew forfeited their opportunity to participate in the largest commercial fishery of the season to assist the crew of the Valdez-based 38-foot fishing vessel Myra Jean after their vessel grounded near Fairmount Island. Paddock’s crew provided dewatering equipment and repair materials essential to the completion of temporary repairs and the successful refloating of the Myra Jean. They then towed the damaged vessel to Port Valdez, a 10-hour evolution, and provided rest and comfort to the exhausted Myra Jean crew.

“Paddock’s swift assistance and noteworthy response had a direct bearing on the accomplishments of the Coast Guard’s search and rescue and environmental protection responsibilities to the Prince William Sound community,” said Verfaillie. “This award highlights the important relationship that exists between the Coast Guard and area boaters.”

Also during the gathering, four crewmembers from Marine Safety Unit Valdez received awards for their actions during the response to the grounding of the 42-foot fishing vessel Ruffian which occurred on January 25. The Homer-based Ruffian grounded on remote Latouche Island with over 200 gallons of fuel on board. The recognized Coast Guardsmen were essential in completing what Verfaillie deemed “a textbook Coast Guard response”.

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