An Heroic Life
Bill’s heroic action that lead to his death is an inspiration to all of his CG Academy classmates and CG officers, enlisted, and civilian personnel that he served with as an officer in the U. S. Coast Guard. He is, and always will be, a valued member of the Class of ’72.
Bill was tough and he loved his work as a CG Marine Inspector. During one of his inspection assignments, a situation arose where he acted instinctively to save someone else’s life. He entered a compartment to rescue a co-worker and was overcome by carbon dioxide leaking from a pipe with hole in it. Because of his courage and dedication to duty, Bill was awarded the Coast Guard Medal posthumously which was accepted by his daughter, Laura Turek.
His untimely death was very hard on Laura. This is especially so because Bill’s wife had passed away a year before and he was raising Laura single handedly. Now Laura was left without either parent. Ron and Janet Gonski were her godparents. Laura has dealt with her loss quite well. She now attends the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida and is currently working on two masters degrees: one in “Sports Medicine” and the other in “Sports Administration”.
Bill’s memory lives on within the Coast Guard. In commemoration of his service, the Marine Inspection Office has developed the “Turek Award”. This award is presented in Bill’s honor in Yorktown, VA with each Marine Inspection class. On the award is an inspector's hammer with Bill Turek’s name on it and it is awarded to the student who most exemplifies his dedication, strength and courage. The person presented this award has some mighty big shoes to fill.