SAN DIEGO – The officers and crew of the guided missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) were named as the recipients of the 2014 Navy Region Southwest “Project Good Neighbor” flagship award for medium-sized sea duty commands, Sept. 29.
Princeton was one of eight Navy Region Southwest units recognized for their volunteerism and community service in an official naval message released by Rear Adm. Patrick Lorge, Commander, Navy Region Southwest.
Led by Lt. John Quay, the ship’s command chaplain, Princeton Sailors leveraged their experience with community relations projects while deployed last year to create a year-round program to improve the quality of life for the less fortunate in San Diego County.
“This award period in particular some of the community relations work we did during deployment,” said Quay. “Here at home, we liaison with Habitat for Humanity at least once a month.”
Quay described the Habitat for Humanity program as helping people in need by giving them a hand up, and not a handout.
“We send Sailors to help build homes with an organization that allows the less fortunate to buy affordable housing,” said Quay. “Habitat works with all people, disabled, low income and veterans, and I truly think it embodies the Navy’s core values of honor, courage and commitment.”
Quay said once a month Princeton Sailors devote time to hands-on labor projects with the non-profit organization, totaling more 215 volunteer hours this past year.
“I’ve always liked to build things,” said Damage Controlman 3rd Class Eric Lancaster, who has participated in Princeton’s community outreach program on two occasions. “Building houses for people in need was a way for me to give back to my community and to do something that makes me feel good.”
According to Quay, most Sailors who volunteer have the same reaction after the event.
“People genuinely like helping other people,” said Quay. “Princeton, and the Navy at large, is a part of the San Diego community and we care for our neighbors.”
Capt. Chuck Good, Princeton’s commanding officer, said he fully supports the command’s community service program.
“This award is a direct reflection of the generous and selfless attitude our Sailors have both overseas and back at home in our own community,” said Good.
Commissioned in 1989 in Pascagoula, Miss., CG 59 is the sixth U.S. Navy ship to carry the name “Princeton.” The name pays honor to battles in and around the city of Princeton, New Jersey in 1777 as part of the Revolutionary War.
The ship’s motto of “Honor and Glory” is derived from a letter written by General George Washington to the Marquis de Lafayette on Nov. 15, 1781 in which he wrote, “"It follows then as certain as night succeeds day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and that with it everything honorable and glorious."