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Coast Guard honors 95-year-old auxiliarist

Leonard Lesnik likes to keep busy as a volunteer with the Coast Guard Auxiliary.


Leonard Lesnik likes to keep busy as a volunteer with the Coast Guard Auxiliary. During the last decade he carried out some 6,000 vessel inspections and in the past few years, while the pace has slackened a bit, he has kept at it.

Now at the age of 95, Lesnik, of North Palm Beach, Fla., has been given the Coast Guard Auxiliary Meritorious Award.

Lesnik was handed the award at a surprise ceremony this spring at Coast Guard Station Lake Worth Inlet in Riviera Beach by Capt. Wayne Justice, Chief of Staff of the 7th Coast Guard District.

Lesnik, during his three decades with the Auxiliary after relocating to Florida from Chicago in 1974, has served as Flotilla Commander, 5th Division Captain Division and Staff Officer for Vessel Examinations.

“The offices I held were not jobs, they were experiences,” says Lesnik.

Throughout the years he has also been active in teaching boating safety. The Auxiliary Meritorious Awards details Lesnik’s 30 years of Auxiliary service with Flotilla 5-2 of Jupiter Florida.

Lesnik conducted nearly 100 boat inspections last year and is planning do more this year despite a sore knee. He continues to teach a navigation class every month.

Lesnik, a World War II Navy veteran who spent nearly a half-century working for a life insurance company, says he is not ready to retire, but is not looking to take on additional duties these days.

“My plate is still quite full,” he says. “I am a member of the Palm Beach Waterway Safety Council and currently sit as Chairman of the Palm Beach Safe Boating Committee. For now, that’s enough.”

The Coast Guard Auxiliary is composed of uniformed, non-military volunteer civilians who assist the Coast Guard in all of its missions, except for military and direct law