LAEM CHABANG, Thailand - More than 44 Sailors from the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Cowpens (CG 63) visited students at the Ban Thung Krad Elementary School for a community service (COMSERV) project Aug. 9.
“It was a great time and I can’t wait to do it again,” said Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Ravi Sookram, a native of New York. “From the very moment we got off the bus, the students were so excited for us to be there.”
The volunteers painted classrooms, played sports with the students, taught some conversational English lessons and even had a chance to sign some ‘autographs.’
It was the first community service project for some of the Sailors who participated, but even for those who had been a part of numerous projects in the past, it was still a very special occasion.
“I was moved and humbled by the reception of the students, simply because of the organization I represent,” said Senior Chief Gas Turbine Systems Technician Florizel O’Hara. “I don’t know if the students would have been so anxious for our ‘autographs’ if it wasn’t for the uniform that we wear. It gives me great pleasure to serve and this is something I will always remember.”
According to Lt. Tae Kim, Cowpens’ command chaplain, Cowpens Sailors are always ready to volunteer their time for service during foreign liberty ports.
“These Sailors’ attitude of sacrifice really inspires me and makes me so proud to be part of the Navy and part of the Cowpens team,” said Kim. “We want to continue to build relationships with the countries that we visit and the devotion and dedication shown here today by Cowpens’ Sailors is a perfect example of how to strengthen those relationships.”