Great Lakes Shipmate of the Week: Fireman Christine Wielicki, Station Tawas, Mich.

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Fireman Wielicki prepares to throw a heaving line.

 Hailing from the Cleveland, Ohio area, Fireman Christine ‘Kristy’ Wielicki knew immediately upon her assignment to Coast Guard Station Tawas, Mich., that life would probably never be the same. Unfamiliar territory, numerous qualifications, and passionate Michigan sports fans were just a few of the things on her mind as she graduated from recruit basic training at Training Center Cape May and started her Coast Guard career in March 2011. In just a few short years, Wielicki has assembled an impressive resume of professional and personal achievements highlighting her contributions as an outstanding shipmate. 

Reporting aboard Station Tawas with a smile on her face and a positive attitude, she embraced the long list of Station Tawas’ qualifications. Starting in the station’s communication center, Wielicki quickly burned through the pages of her watch stander performance and qualification standards followed by the Ninth District’s unique ice rescuer qualification. The summer season brought about more challenging qualification opportunities. Wielicki rose to the task, becoming certified as a boat crew member just weeks after Station Tawas’ 25 foot Response Boat-Small and 47 foot Motor Life Boat hit the water following ice out.  

Because of her positivity, maturity and recent qualification achievements, Wielicki was presented with the unique and rewarding opportunity to qualify as an MLB Engineer, a position not normally offered to nonrated members. To date, Wielicki has flawlessly supervised the station MLB’s engine room on over 70 missions. This qualification, combined with her attitude, selflessness and work ethic played a major contributing role in her selection as the station’s Sailor Of The Quarter for the first quarter of fiscal year 2012, and one year later, she would prove to be the station’s only 2-time winner of the award.

“She displays maturity, and impeccable work ethic,” said her supervisor, Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Lamb, Station Tawas’ Engineering Petty Officer.

Wielicki’s contributions to her unit have gone far beyond her qualifications. In fact, since taking over the as unit’s Material Safety Data Sheet Program Coordinator, she has been credited with single handedly giving the program new life.

 

Wielicki poses for a photograph outside Station Tawas.

Wielicki poses for a photograph outside Station Tawas.

“She took ownership of the program and completely rebuilt it from the ground up” said Lamb. “She took that responsibility and ran with it, and that program’s better than it’s ever been.”

Despite everything, Wielicki’s biggest contribution to Station Tawas is no doubt her attitude.  Always up-beat, positive and bearing a smile, she promotes an enjoyable working environment for all around her.

“Her energy and attitude can sometimes be the glue that holds this station together” said Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Channels, Station Tawas’ Executive Petty Officer.   

While patiently enduring the long wait to attend Health Service Technician ‘A’ School, Wielicki remains determined to maintain positive control of her future, taking advantage of two temporary duty trips to Air Station Traverse City where she was able to work alongside health service technicians in a clinical setting to gain experience and knowledge.  Additionally, to help hone her stills in patient care, she volunteers at Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Tawas City during her off duty hours.

To advance her education off duty, Wielicki is currently taking college courses through American Military University working toward a Bachelors degree in Public Health. In keeping with her typical work ethic it is not surprising that she has maintained a 4.0 GPA, which led to her invitation to The National Society of Collegiate Scholars. The example she set in furthering her education has served as motivation to her peers to take college courses for career enhancement.  

“Through life in general, along with being an engineer on a massive boat as only a non-rate, I have learned that success is finding your lifework in the work that you love,” Wielicki said, “and right now, I wouldn’t want it any other way”.

Teamed up with her beloved dog Grayson, Wielicki is a positive force on Station Tawas, her shipmates and the entire Coast Guard.  Excited and anxious for a long career ahead of her, she stands out from the crowd as a role model to all those around her. 

 

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