PORTSMOUTH, Va. - The United States Coast Guard recently presented the Coast Guard Public Service Commendation Award to three boaters for their efforts in rescuing two injured men from a vessel fire in February 2021.
On February 9, 2021, a recreational vessel 45 miles east of Cape Charles caught fire, forcing the two people aboard into the water. The men were badly burned and hypothermic in the 50-degree water while hanging on to their rapidly sinking vessel.
Mark Clemens, Shawn Shapiro Sr. and Shawn Shapiro Jr. diverted their vessel, the Weekend Warrior, to help when they noticed smoke on the horizon. They pulled the men from the water moments before their vessel sank and took them to the Coast Guard Cutter Dependable, where the men received first aid before being medevaced to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital by a Coast Guard helicopter.
According to Capt. Samson Stevens, commander of Coast Guard Sector Virginia, the crew of the Weekend Warrior received a standing ovation when they received their award.
“The standing ovation from over 130 first responders from 35 different Fire, Police and Emergency Management departments within the Hampton Roads region warmed my heart, and affirmed the strong sense of public safety and unity of effort this region is known for,” said Capt. Samson Stevens, commander of Coast Guard Sector Virginia. "Most importantly, we recognized the everyday heroes – the mariners – who live and operate in our Tidewater region. Our waterways are safer because of good Samaritans like Mr. Shapiro, Sr., Mr. Shapiro, Jr., and Mr. Clemens."