Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, recognizes the Oak Harbor Navy League and Rotary Club Sailors of the Year at a luncheon Friday. Left: Jennifer Deburkarte, logistics specialist first class, and Sheri Russell, religious programs specialist first class, were named the reserve and shore Sailors of the Year respectively. Sea Sailor of the Year Dustin Walker, aviation ordnanceman first class could not attend the luncheon because he was on detachment in Florida. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, recognizes the Oak Harbor Navy League and Rotary Club Sailors of the Year at a luncheon Friday. Left: Jennifer Deburkarte, logistics specialist first class, and Sheri Russell, religious programs specialist first class, were named the reserve and shore Sailors of the Year respectively. Sea Sailor of the Year Dustin Walker, aviation ordnanceman first class could not attend the luncheon because he was on detachment in Florida. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

Reserve, sea and shore sailors of the year honored

The Navy League and Rotary Club of Oak Harbor presented its Shore, Sea and Reserve Sailors of the Year awards Friday at a recognition luncheon.

“Our Sailors of the Year are the epitome of Navy values and Navy attributes,” Capt. Geoffrey Moore, commanding officer for Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, said during the luncheon.

A selection committee of various command master chiefs, which is the most senior leader of enlisted ranks, selected and interviewed finalists for the award, said Steve Bristow, Navy League of Oak Harbor president.

“Our luncheon is the formal recognition of the final selection for sea, shore, and reserve SOYs, and their own symbolic representation of all of the sailors,” he said in an email.

Sheri Russell, religious programs specialist first class, was named Shore Sailor of the Year. She was born in Lawrenceville, Ga., and reported to the NAS Whidbey Island chapel in 2015 for her first tour in the religious programs rating. She learned her new rating while rebuilding the religious offering funds program and rewriting the chapel’s standard operating procedures. In 2016, she advanced to first class petty officer.

Russell’s awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, three Good Conduct Medals and various unit service awards. Currently, Russell resides in Oak Harbor with her dogs Jade and Champ. She said she loves the area, and will be sad when she moves to Bahrain in a few months.

Russell said she appreciated the nomination and award.

“I do a lot with the community, and I’m glad to get recognized for it,” she said.

Dustin Walker, aviation ordnanceman first class, was named Sea Sailor of the Year, but was unable to attend because he was on detachment in Florida.

Walker was born in Tampico, Ill, and joined electronic attack squadron 140 at NAS Whidbey Island in 2015. In 2016 he received his master’s degree in organizational leadership from Brandman University.

His awards include five Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, two Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medals, four Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation, three Sea Service Deployment Ribbons and Marksman 9mm Pistol and M16/M4 Rifle.

Walker lives in Oak Harbor with his wife and two children.

Jennifer Deburkarte, logistics specialist first class, was named Reserve Sailor of the Year. She was born in Pago Pago, American Samoa, and first came to NAS Whidbey Island in 2007 and returned in 2011. She served as the government purchase card holder and “was directly responsible for funding numerous improvement projects at NAS Whidbey that saved the Navy millions of dollars in facility repair costs,” said Greg Smith, master of ceremonies, during the event.

In 2015, she joined patrol squadron 69 and advanced to petty officer first class. Her awards include five Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, three Good Conduct Medals, Humanitarian Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, six Overseas Service Ribbons, four Sea Service Deployment ribbons and other various unit and campaign service awards.

Deburkarte lives in Oak Harbor with her husband and two children.

“It’s a very humbling experience, I’m very honored to be selected,” she said.

“I can only hope to be a positive influence to my sailors, and for the Navy and also for the community.”

County Commissioner Rick Hannold recognizes the Oak Harbor Navy League and Rotary Club Sailors of the Year at a luncheon Friday. Left: Jennifer Deburkarte, logistics specialist first class, and Sheri Russell, religious programs specialist first class, were named the reserve and shore Sailors of the Year respectively. Sea Sailor of the Year Dustin Walker, aviation ordnanceman first class could not attend the luncheon because he was on detachment in Florida. Phoot by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

County Commissioner Rick Hannold recognizes the Oak Harbor Navy League and Rotary Club Sailors of the Year at a luncheon Friday. Left: Jennifer Deburkarte, logistics specialist first class, and Sheri Russell, religious programs specialist first class, were named the reserve and shore Sailors of the Year respectively. Sea Sailor of the Year Dustin Walker, aviation ordnanceman first class could not attend the luncheon because he was on detachment in Florida. Phoot by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

More in News

Class teaches disaster readiness

‘There’s no reason not to be prepared’

State lawmaker aims to improve recycling process

Many people feel a sense of accomplishment when they opt to recycle… Continue reading

Van driver accused of ramming pickup truck

The driver of a van is accused of chasing a down a… Continue reading

New building permit fees expected to reduce costs

The Board of Island County Commissioners is set to vote on building… Continue reading

Contributed photo — Erin Kelly was so appreciative of Marc Swenson’s efforts that she baked him a “Thank You” cake.
Volunteer firefighter saves neighbor’s home

A quick response by a local firefighter may have helped save a… Continue reading

Gifts from the Heart turns sweet 16

Clients at Gifts at the Heart Food Bank will be in for… Continue reading

Man arrested for pawning stolen student robotics club’s telescope

A man faces a felony charge after getting caught pawning a telescope… Continue reading

Tiny bugs bite into WhidbeyHealth budget

But it still came out $1.3 million ahead for 2017

Rick Almberg
To nobody’s surprise, city’s sewer rates on the high end

Due to low-interest-rate loans, Oak Harbor’s projected sewer rates aren’t going to… Continue reading

Most Read