HONG KONG -
Eighteen Sailors assigned to the Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain visited the Chun Shek Adult Training Centre, a home for the mentally disabled in Hong Kong, during their port visit to Hong Kong, June 19.
Community relations (COMREL) events such as this are an opportunity for Sailors to reach out to the local communities, giving help where it is needed, while improving the nod and building goodwill relationships with the host nation.
“When I put the sign-up sheet out for this COMREL, it was filled within 3 minutes,” said Ships Servicemen 1st Class Charles Agyeilarbi, from Ghana and COMREL coordinator aboard John S. McCain. “The Sailors aboard John S. McCain show a true passion for giving back to the communities around the world who allow us to pull into their ports and take a break from our demanding schedules. I couldn’t be happier with the level of participation or enthusiasm these Sailors have shown.”
During their time at the center each Sailor was paired with a member of the home, allowing special friendships to bloom amongst the group. They spent the day with the residents, accompanying them to the Hong Kong Heritage museum, taking photos with them, and walking them around Hong Kong.
“Today was very meaningful to everyone here at the home,” said Ms. Ida Tang, head director of Chun Shek Adult Training Centre. “It made us feel very special that someone came to visit us, and for that I thank you. I hope the next time the Navy comes to visit Hong Kong, they will come see us again also.”
Sailors from the John S. McCain felt equally rewarded by the day.
“Today was a satisfying experience,” said Cryptologic Technician 2nd Class James Cross from Detroit. “I have relatives who suffer through those same struggles, and I know what it’s like for the families to have to cope with the challenges that come with it. I felt that us being here really showed that the Navy has a spirit of caring and giving. This was definitely the highlight of my port visit.”
John S. McCain is on patrol with the George Washington Carrier Strike Group in the 7th Fleet area of operations supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.