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Honorable mention, 2013 Navy Times Coast Guardsman of the Year: Narvaez-Vazquez

Jul. 15, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
Lt. Herbert Narvaez-Vazquez
Lt. Herbert Narvaez-Vazquez ()
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Job description: Staff member with the office of the deputy commandant for operations, administration and coordination, at Coast Guard Headquarters. Started a new job July 8 with the Information Resource Management Branch, Yorktown, Va.
Personal: 39 years old. Spent nine years in the Army before joining the Coast Guard. Married to Zinnia Narvaez. Two sons — Xavian Narvaez-Ayala, 13, and Kaden Narvaez-Ayala, 10. Native of Bayamon, Puerto Rico.

Lt. Herbert Narvaez-Vazquez

Narvaez-Vazquez is described as a “staunch champion of those less fortunate.” When Hurricane Sandy battered the East Coast, Narvaez-Vazquez was personally responsible for collecting hundreds of items and monetary donations for Coast Guard families in need.

The Virginia resident is active in his own community, as well, using his prior Army experience to help train Air Force JROTC cadets and lead them to victory in drill competition. He has volunteered for the Special Olympics and also serves on a gang response intervention team in Manassas, Va. The team helps prevent children and young adults from joining gangs and also assists gang members in how to leave the life.

Until recently, he served in the Office of the Deputy Commandant for Operations at Coast Guard Headquarters.

While there, his computer skills were instrumental in revamping the department’s software system, which helps keep track of all the inquiries it receives from Congress, the Department of Homeland Security and the public at large. At any time there are about 10,000 active tasks in the system, and Narvaez-Vazquez’s work has revitalized how they monitor these jobs and get them done, said his supervisor, Lt. Cmdr. Eric Casper.

Narvaez-Vazquez said his dad instilled a strong work discipline while he

credits his mom with giving him a sense of caring for his community.

“She always said, ‘Pay it forward,’” Narvaez-Vazquez said.

Casper said he is struck by Narvaez-Vazquez’s willingness to help others and his positive attitude.

“He is somebody that you would want on your team in any given situation,” Casper said.

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