Petty Officer Michael Gould (center) receiving the 2018 Coast Guard Enlisted Person of the Year Award and Coast Guard Commendation Medal with Admiral Karl Schultz, Commandant of the United States Coast Guard (left) and Master Chief Petty Officer of the United States Coast Guard Reserves George Williamson (right).
By: Briana Smith | May 29, 2019
WAXIE has great respect and a long history of supporting those in the U.S. military dating back to our founders Morris Wax and Harry Wax who served in the U.S. Army & U.S. Navy respectively.
So you can imagine how excited we were when it was announced that one of our employees, who was deployed with the Coast Guard at the time, earned the recognition of Coast Guard’s 2018 Enlisted Person of the Year Reserve Component (REPOY) soon after being presented with the Q4 2018 JTF (Joint Task Force – Guantanamo Bay, Cuba) Enlisted Professional of the Quarter award.
WAXIE Santa Ana’s Regional Sales Manager Michael Gould spent six years in the U.S. Navy after graduating high school. Mike began his career at WAXIE in 2003 but said that he always had a “flag shaped hole in his heart” since separating from the military the first go-around and wanted to continue serving his country so he joined the U.S. Coast Guard as a reservist in 2012.
Mike recently returned home from a nine-month deployment where, as part of the Port Security Unit (PSU) 311 based out of the Los Angeles/Long Beach area, he spent time patrolling the waters around Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. As Petty Officer 1st Class, he served as a Tactical Coxswain, Water Survival Master, Responder and Lifeguard.
He was nominated by his unit and won their Reserve Enlisted Person of the Quarter for January – June 2018 for several qualities that we know Mike displays here at WAXIE – leadership, dependability, selflessness and dedication. Whether in the Coast Guard or at WAXIE, he is always volunteering his time and skills, often going above and beyond his regular duties. While on deployment Mike didn’t change a thing, rather he got involved and coached youth sports while in Cuba, as well as raising money and organizing events for people on the military base and for his fellow Coast Guardsmen.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Gould (center), a boatswain’s mate assigned to Port Security Unit 311 in Los Angeles, is joined by Rear Adm. Peter Gautier, Coast Guard District 11 commander, and Master Chief Petty Officer Richard Baenen, Coast Guard District 11 reserve command master chief, as he is named the district’s reserve enlisted person of the year during a ceremony in Alameda, California, March 1, 2019. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Cory Mendenhall /Released)
Winning the local Reserve Enlisted Person of the Quarter award made Mike eligible for the Regional Pacific Southwest REPOY award, which he also earned. At the regional award ceremony Mike was commended for “directly contributing to PSU 311’s operational readiness to deploy through his participation with the training team in order to deploy all members in a mission ready status...” It was also noted that he “consistently volunteered to work on his days off, assuming extra patrols to cover for members who were on leave or conducting required training.”
Alice Sawaya, Vice President & General Manager of WAXIE Santa Ana, has had the privilege of working with Mike for 16 years and knows first-hand just how hard Mike works and what a great leader and mentor he is to the rest of the staff at WAXIE. This award has come as no surprise to her. “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching, thank goodness the U.S. Coast Guard was watching, because Michael does not serve for personal recognition or credit. He serves to fill a void in his heart that can only be filled by being part of something that is bigger than himself. Michael Gould is a leader whose values include honor, sacrifice, courage and commitment. Selfless acts are the foundation of Michael’s character. He gives of himself freely to those in need and those he protects.”
On March 15, 2019, while still on deployment, Mike received a special phone call from Admiral Karl Schultz, a four-star admiral and Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, telling him that he was selected as the 2018 Reserve Enlisted Person of the Year for the entire U.S. Coast Guard.
Later a portion of the call was posted on Facebook with Admiral Schultz personally commenting to Mike that, “I just want to tell you first off congratulations to you for being nominated as the REPOY by [PSU] 311, but then competing amongst, you know, just the remarkable number of Coast Guard REPOY candidates to get the big selection here. I’m just proud of you Michael. It says tremendous things about your contributions and what your team there things of you.”
In Washington D.C. on April 25, 2019, along with Mike’s wife Carolyn, three of their four daughters, his mother-in-law Mary Jean, and his sister-in-law Christine, WAXIE’s President & COO Jeff Roberts as a representative of Mike’s “civilian employer” had the honor of attending the U.S. Coast Guard’s 2018 Enlisted Persons of the Year Banquet.
At the ceremony, Mike was again praised for working long hours as a tactical coxswain and beyond his role as the unit’s primary professional development coach for third class petty officers. He also served as water survival training program master and training petty officer for members working to attain their coxswain qualifications.
During his acceptance speech he recognized his wife Carolyn saying, “To my wife, you are resilient, strong and beautiful. I am grateful for our 23 year marriage and look forward to our next season of life together. Thank you for believing in me, supporting me and loving me unconditionally.”
In addition to thanking his loved ones, he thanked WAXIE for continuously being there for him and his family throughout his deployment. And of course, Mike being Mike, when receiving the award, he deflected the credit and praised the rest of his shipmates & commanders. “It’s certainly an honor and privilege to receive this recognition,” he said. “I’m proud to work alongside so many hard working and talented shipmates.”
“Mike is an outstanding example of service first, both to his country and to others, and generosity. He made personal sacrifices to be away from his family for nine months, and even suffered through the government shutdown when he didn’t get paid,” Jeff Roberts commented after the event. “When you think of the brave men and women who protect our shorelines, rescue people at sea who are in distress, providing aid to those in need, think about Mike Gould.”
Admiral Karl Schultz, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard; Mrs. Schultz; Amanda Gould; Alexis Gould; Carolyn Gould; Brooke Gould and now Chief Petty Officer Michael Gould at the 2019 REPOY Banquet in Washington D.C
As the 2018 Coast Guard REPOY, Mike has the honor of attending the 95th Annual Grand Haven Parade in Michigan this August, which he is eagerly looking forward to attending. Grand Haven has the distinction of being named “Coast Guard City, USA” and has hosted festivities since 1924 celebrating and commemorating those who have served our nation paid the ultimate sacrifice while performing their duties in the Coast Guard.
All of us at WAXIE are so proud of Mike for earning this prestigious award, and all of the preceding awards that made him eligible to achieve it. The qualities that were recognized at each ceremony are a direct reflection of who Mike is — a compassionate, self-effacing & steadfast person who is always willing to pitch in and help others.
One of the things Mike touched upon during the ceremony in Washington D.C. sums this up perfectly. “I believe the key to any success I have achieved is because someone first helped me,” he shared. “I will always try to offer guidance to others and assist those who ask.”
Just like the Coast Guard motto “Semper Paratus” Mike is always ready, and we are so lucky to share him with the United States Coast Guard.
Briana Smith is WAXIE’s Social Media & Product Branding Specialist and spends quite a bit of time skimming the news for what’s new in cleaning, sustainability and technology while managing all of WAXIE’s social channels. She especially loves posting about #teamwaxie activities & conversing with customers on Instagram. Briana has a Bachelor's Degree in Communication Design from California State University, Chico.