2010 Coastguardsman of the Year
LCDR Richard Angelet
Married to Georgina; children Kyle, 19, and Cassandra, 15.
Consuelo Conde was nearly broke when she accepted a job in November to work for the Coast Guard in Washington, D.C. After a traumatic divorce, the single mother did not have enough money to move her furniture from Mesa, Ariz.
When she mentioned her situation to a co-worker, he knew exactly where to go for help — Lt. Cmdr. Richard Angelet.
Angelet immediately sent a message for help on his "bang list" — a list he created that includes 80 fellow Hispanic Coast Guard and Navy personnel. Conde, who had just a mattress and a blanket in her apartment, soon had a dining set, dishes, pots and pans, and clothes for her 8-year-old son.
"He makes you feel like you have a family here," Conde said, praising Angelet and his network.
Angelet, a budget analyst and developer for the assistant commandant of operations, is the 2010 Navy Times Coast Guardsman of the Year.
He was raised in Brooklyn by his grandmother, who struggled to balance her factory job with keeping an eye on her grandson. His schoolwork suffered.
"I kinda got pushed along," Angelet said. "I didn't take it seriously."
After he graduated high school, a Coast Guard recruiting commercial changed his life. He enlisted in 1988.
"During that time, I did a lot of growing up," he said.
Angelet, 41, married his high school sweetheart, had two children and convinced himself to go back to school in 1995. After he earned 30 credit hours, Yeoman 2nd Class Angelet was selected for Officer Candidate School.
Sandwiched between assignments worldwide, Angelet finally earned a bachelor's degree in management studies in 2008. By that time, he had been at Coast Guard Headquarters for five years and had moved from the Office of Boat Forces to the budget office.
Angelet said his childhood drove him to look for opportunities to help kids. He became involved in coaching youth baseball and softball teams.
Angelet benefited from mentors in the Coast Guard, but he noticed that he didn't see a lot of Hispanic officers. So he dedicated himself to helping other Hispanics move up in the service.
Angelet is president of the Washington chapter of the Association of Naval Services Officers, an organization that promotes the advancement of Hispanic service members. He is the Coast Guard's representative to the national association and helped organize its annual leadership symposium in San Diego. He also is the Hispanic employment program manager at Coast Guard Headquarters, working to eliminate barriers to recruiting and promoting Hispanics in the Coast Guard.
Last year, he served on the Hispanic College Fund scholarship selection committee and helped judge a talent show sponsored by the fund at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Angelet also is a Coast Guard Academy admissions partner, working to help minority applicants complete the application process.
"He's one of those really well-rounded people who can do all these things and still do his primary job well," said Lt. Xochitl Castañeda, assistant team leader for the Vessel Response Planning Program.
Angelet has asked co-workers to let him know when Hispanic personnel move to Washington. He welcomes them and adds them to his networking list. Angelet sends regular messages to the list about volunteer opportunities, events and other topics.
Angelet was one of the first people former Lt. Nadine Santiago met when she came to headquarters to be a public affairs officer three years ago. She said she was nervous about her new assignment, but Angelet introduced her to a network of people.
"It meant a lot to me," Santiago said.
Capt. Bob Whitehouse, former deputy chief of budget development for operations, supervised Angelet for three years. He described Angelet as a high-energy individual who works hard to help others without seeking recognition.
Whitehouse also praised Angelet's ability to connect with Hispanic youth.
"He has tremendous passion for the Coast Guard and tremendous passion for reaching out to people who may not know we are there," Whitehouse said.
Angelet, who is transferring to the Office of International Affairs this summer, said he wants to continue to reach out to young people.
"My message constantly with the kids is you can succeed no matter what," Angelet said.