Best in the West

Juneau Coast Guardsman named West Coast area Enlisted Person of Year

Posted: Sunday, March 15, 2009

Petty Officer 1st Class Jomar Dunham was recently selected for one of the highest honors in the Coast Guard.

Stationed at the Integrated Support Command Ketchikan-Juneau Detachment, Dunham has received the 2008 U.S. Coast Guard Maintenance and Logistic Command Pacific (MLCPAC) Enlisted Person of the Year.

"It feels good," Dunham said. "I guess I still get butterflies when I think about it. It's a great recognition and definitely something big for the unit that I'm at."

Designed to recognize enlisted personnel in the pay grades E-2 through E-6, Enlisted Person of the Year nominees reflect the Coast Guard's core values of honor, respect and devotion to duty.

Dunham has been the sole store keeper for his detachment for five of the six years he's been with the Coast Guard. As such, he was responsible for all funding, verification and liquidation of more than $1 million on seven separate accounts.

Dunham's supervisor, Chief Simon Waldern, had no question as to why he was selected.

"Jomar was the continuity that kept everything running," Waldern said. "He's an outstanding role model and team leader, an outstanding departmental store keeper and incredibly knowledgeable in his rating. He's a true team leader. He's very intelligent and has done very well."

Waldern said Dunham has been promoted twice since first coming to Juneau.

"He's been in the Coast Guard six years, and to (be promoted) that quickly really shows his drive and determination," Waldern said. "He's an outstanding team leader. He's a terrific father, terrific parent. He really is a hard-charging, hard-working young man, and he's done a super job in our office."

Prior to winning MLPAC Enlisted Person of the Year, Dunham was selected as the 2008 Enlisted Person of the Year for just the ISC Ketchikan-Juneau Detachment.

Dunham also was nominated for the 2008 Alaska Enlisted Coast Guardsman of the Year, which Homer's Chris Hutto recently won, as well as the 2008 Coast Guard Enlisted Person of the Year, which Admiral Thad W. Allen, Commandant of the Coast Guard, will select in April. According to Waldern, only 13 to 15 people are nominated for the national honor.

Dunham said his wife, Melanie, and their two children, Amar, 5, and Aimee, 3, are extremely proud of his accomplishments.

"We pulled up the article on the Internet, and my little girl was pointing at me on the computer screen," Dunham said. "When my son saw it online, he was excited, and my wife, she's excited and proud."

Unfortunately for Juneau, Dunham was recently ordered to transfer this summer to Anchorage, where he will continue in logistics.

"I hate to leave this place, because I love Juneau and I love the people I work with up here," Dunham said. "But that's the next exciting thing happening."

Despite all the exciting news, Dunham remains humble and is grateful for those who nominated him.

"I work with a great group of people," he said. "It's truly a blessing. I'm very blessed to be here with the people who I work with, and (I'm thankful for the) good things that have been happening."

• Contact Neighbors editor Kim Andree at

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