Luncheon honors NAS Whidbey sailors of the year

Naval Air Station Whidbey Island’s Sea, Shore and Reserve Sailors of the Year were honored by the community during a luncheon Friday at the Officer’s Club.

The Oak Harbor Area Council Navy League and Rotary Club of Oak Harbor held the 43rd annual lunch to recognize the standout sailors.

Petty Officer First Class Rodney B. Scheppler, from NAS Whidbey, was named Shore Sailor of the Year, Petty Officer First Class Kenneth B. Evangelista, from Navy Information Operation Command is Sea Sailor of the Year, and Petty Officer First Class Shannon M. Rivera, of VR-61, is Reserve Sailor of the Year.

Rotary President Greg Smith said he was very proud to be in the same room with the three sailors.

Capt. Geoff Moore, NAS Whidbey commanding officer, said the purpose of the annual luncheon is to pay tribute to the Navy’s greatest asset — its sailors.

Moore said he currently has more than 7,000 sailors on base doing a fine job.

“I truly think that everyone deserves credit,” he said.

Moore said the three men named Sailors of the Year were not just being recognized by the Navy at the luncheon, but by the community as well.

State Sen. Barbara Bailey and husband, himself a retired Navy officer, also attended the event and congratulated the winners.

Navy League President Steve Bristow also praised the sailors.

“You are what makes this the premier and most sought after naval air station in the Navy,” he said.