Midshipman Cody Kessler, a junior forward at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, was recognized as the Safety Award recipient for the month of March by the crew of the M/V Alliance Norfolk.
Kessler worked tirelessly for 26 consecutive hours in an effort to control a fire and re-flash fire which broke out on the No. 5 Cargo Deck of the ship. Kessler was aboard the ship due to the academy's Year at Sea program.
Chief Engineer Thomas McKenzie praised Kessler’s efforts.
“He was instrumental in his continued assistance to the vessel’s engine and deck department throughout the stressful and arduous firefighting and damage control operations," McKenzie said. "Mr. Kessler is an extremely valuable ship asset and we are proud of the standard that he has set for himself and others.”
Kessler, a Marine Engineering major, has a proven record for handling pressure situations not only at sea but also on land.
Last fall he he scored the lone goal in Kings Point’s 1-0 victory over Catholic University to win the Landmark Conference championship. The win clinched the third consecutive NCAA Division III tournament bid for USMMA. In 2010, the Delmar, N.Y. resident scored the game-winner in the opening round of the NCAA Division I tournament against Kean University .
“As much as I’ve been pleased with a number of big performances Cody has put forth in his three seasons as a Kings Point soccer player, I was even more proud to hear of the effort Cody put in while dealing with a potentially dangerous situation during his time out at sea,” Kings Point coach Mike Smolens said. “On the field, Cody has scored some of the biggest goals and played a major role in some of the most important wins in USMMA history. More importantly, he’s shown that he’s learned a great deal during his tenure at the Academy and will be prepared to meet the numerous challenges which face our graduates.”
Kessler’s duties during the crisis included assisting the ship’s electrician in manually isolating leaking drainage piping, rigging and operating damage control pumping equipment and delivering drinking water to firefighters and crew members.
“During my 22 years here, I’ve been proud of the numerous accomplishments our soccer players and other midshipmen have achieved while at the Academy or following graduation,” Smolens said. “Cody provides another example that the Academy continues to prepare our young people for success both on land or at sea.”