Monday, February 6, 2023

Avenue of Heroes: Deborah Mariya

Written by Sam J. Tangredi

Rev. Dr. Deborah Mariya is a native of Luverne, Minnesota. Called to ministry at an early age, she served with missionaries in Brazil. She graduated from Augustana University and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.

Following seminary, Mariya was ordained as clergy of the United Methodist Church. For 10 years, she served as a pastor of churches in Iowa, during which time she joined the U.S. Naval Reserve. Mariya was called to active duty in 1990 immediately prior to Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm as command chaplain of USS Cape Cod (AD-43), deploying to the Persian Gulf. Traveling by helicopter, she conducted divine services and counseling throughout the Fleet at sea and ashore in the theater of operations.

Following liberation of Kuwait, Cape Cod was diverted to provide disaster relief in the Philippines during the eruption of Mount Pinatubo.

Chaplain Mariya made a second deployment to the Persian Gulf and then was assigned to National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where she was, among other duties, chaplain of the oncology ward and conducted Protestant divine services.

Additionally, Mariya was chaplain of the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH-20), deploying to Haiti during the U.S. intervention in 1994.

Returning to the West Coast, she served as squadron chaplain of Amphibious Squadron Three (PHIBRON 3). This was the first period during which she lived in Coronado. Moving ashore to Naval Station San Diego, she was the lead chaplain of the Consolidated Chaplains Assistance Team, providing assistance to families of deployed crews.

Transferred once again to the Washington, D.C., area, she was pastor of the Navy Chapel located at the Naval Security Station. Additionally, she served at Naval Support Facility Anacostia and Arlington National Cemetery.

Following naval service, she completed her doctorate of Divine Ministry at Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, D.C., and served as pastor of the United Methodist Church in Chicamuxen, Maryland.

After residing in Waldorf, Maryland; Athens, Greece; and Arlington, Virginia, she returned home to Coronado. She is mother of Mercy M. Tangredi, a Coronado High School graduate and freshman at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu.

The Hometown Banner program is a military service recognition program sponsored by the City of Coronado. Introduced in 2014, the program has honored 206 hometown heroes. On May 21, another 11 will be honored. The City funds all the costs for the program. City staff and volunteers from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2422, the Coronado Historical Association and the Third and Fourth Streets Neighborhood Association oversee its operation. The inspiration for the program came spontaneously with the movement of two Navy SEALs to their final resting place. News spread quickly in Coronado. The local Rotary Club passed out American flags. People lined Fourth Street to honor the fallen service members. As the procession approached the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, a lone Navy SEAL stood at attention, saluting as he waited for the passage of his comrades. At that moment, it was clear that Third and Fourth streets were already an Avenue of Heroes. From that spontaneous beginning, the program was launched in May 2015 with 18 banners. Ceremonies are held twice yearly and men and women with ties to the community have been recognized from the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps. The Hometown Banner program is a reminder that Coronado has a rich history and legacy of service to country.

Managing Editor
Managing Editor
Originally from upstate New York, Dani Schwartz has lived in Coronado since 1996. She is happy to call Coronado home and to have raised her children here. In her free time she enjoys reading, exercising, trying new restaurants, and just walking her dog around the "island." Have news to share? Send tips or story ideas to: [email protected]