USS Reuben James Brings Good Will to East Timor
DILI, Timor-Leste (NNS) -- USS Reuben James (FFG 57) presented 28 boxes of clothing and toys to the Alola Foundation during a ceremony in East Timor on Feb 22.
Commanding Officer, Cmdr. David Miller and Reuben James' Sailors presented the boxes of women and children's clothing.
Reuben James' Sailors have participated in several community relations projects during their visit to Dili, East Timor. Immediately after the ceremony, 41 Sailors made their way to the Becora Orphanage to distribute toys from Project Handclasp to the children. Project Handclasp supplies were also donated to the Timor-Leste Ministry of Health.
At a local restaurant after lunch, the Sailors were escorted to the Villa Verde Orphanage to distribute the other half of the Project Handclasp toys.
After a warm welcome from the director of the orphanage, Sailors mingled with the children. Some played basketball, while others were led on an impromptu tour of the orphanage guided by several of the children. Prior to departure, the children gathered the Sailors and danced and sang songs in the local language to say thank you.
"It was a very different experience than anything I've ever participated in and this has inspired me to partake in similar events in the future whenever the opportunity presents itself," said Fire Controlman 3rd Class William Harvey.
Seventh Fleet Spouses Association led by Nonie Bird, wife of the Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, Vice Adm John Bird, gathered the donations for the Alola Foundation. Director of the Alola Foundation and wife of East Timor's Prime Minister, Kirsty Sword-Gusmão, atteneded the ceremony and accepted the donations.
Reuben James remains forward deployed in the Western Pacific.