Local sailor receives Navy League’s 2012 Award of Excellence
By: Amy Armour
A Wildwood man was honored recently with the 2012 Award of Excellence from The Navy League of the United States – St. Louis Council. The award was in addition to being named 2012 District Sailor of the Year for Navy Recruiting District (NRD) St. Louis.
Navy Counselor First Class Shaunell Hyatt received both awards based on his leadership, teamwork and job performance as well as his community involvement.
“The Sailor of the Year Award was a great honor, Hyatt said. “It was very heartwarming to know that my superiors thought that much of me to name me the #1 Sailor in our district. It shows that hard work and dedication to duty is recognized and awarded as such.”
Hyatt joined the Navy as an undesignated Airman in 2000 immediately following his high school graduation. He felt the Navy could offer him a wealth of job and educational opportunities as well as adventures that he would not have otherwise been afforded.
“My original plan was to get in and only do my four years, but once I got into the Navy, I quickly realized that the lifestyle was for me,” said Hyatt.
Hyatt was first stationed aboard the USS Enterprise (CVN-65) in Norfolk, Va., and participated in a humanitarian mission to the Mediterranean, during which he provided food and supplies to those in need. His most memorable moment aboard the Enterprise was during the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.
“It was absolutely chaotic,” Hyatt said. “I was 18 at the time. I was incredibly scared, but ready to take on whatever missions were handed to me.”
In 2003, Hyatt attended an electrical engineering program in Great Lakes, Ill., and was then stationed aboard the USS Bataan as an electrician’s mate fireman. While aboard, Hyatt was sent to New Orleans, La. to participate in the clean-up efforts following Hurricane Katrina. He was responsible for rescuing stranded individuals, directing traffic and cleaning up debris
Hyatt completed two more deployments, including another mission to the Mediterranean, and participated in Operation Caribbean Lion, a goodwill mission featuring training exercises with the navies of countries from throughout the Caribbean.
Mass Communication Specialist First Class Joseph Seavey, Navy Recruiting District St. Louis, said hard work and determination, as well as mentoring of junior sailors and future sailors, set Hyatt apart.
“I have always been taught to give back to my community and lead by example, so to be recognized for something that comes natural, straight for my heart and ingrained in me as a child really means a lot,” Hyatt said.
In addition to his work with the Navy, Hyatt is very involved with his local community.
He volunteers with the Girl Scouts of America, as well as a program called Pathways, which provides support to veterans in area hospices. Hyatt joins other volunteers in presenting veterans with banners, listening to their stories and letting them know how much they are appreciated by members of the community.
In 2006, Hyatt moved to Nashville, Tenn., where he served as an active duty recruiter. He currently lives in Wildwood with his wife, Melanie, and their four children.
“Serving in the world’s greatest Navy I feel is a privilege. To be able to serve my county and know that I’m doing my part to keep our great nation free is an honor,” Hyatt said. “Hearing the patriots from the local area tell you thank you for serving, and my wife and kids taking pride in me being in this great Navy is the best feeling in the world.”