SYDNEY, Australia -- Sailors assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Preble took some of their time off during their port call to visit the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children, July 31.
The visit was part of a community service (COMSERV) event. COMSERVs give Sailors a chance to experience new cultures, share some of theirs, and leave a place better than they found it.
“I like to have opportunities like these” said Logistics Specialist 3rd Class Andrea Catindig. “It’s nice to get out of the norm and do some random acts of kindness. It doesn’t take much to brighten someone’s day.”
Sailors moved room to room visiting approximately 30 children. Many of the children were curious about life on a ship, and the different jobs Sailors do. Questions were asked from both sides about music, animals, school, sports, and hobbies.
“I think that they felt like people care about them, and it also broke the monotony,” said Personnel Specialist 1st Class Jay Jay Robles. “We were able to talk to them and offer them something different and share each other’s cultures.”
For many of the Sailors, it was their first time visiting a children’s hospital. Some of them were nervous about what condition they might find the children in, but after talking with a few patients they became more focused on interacting with the kids, and less worried about their own apprehension.
“It was different,” said Navy Career Counselor 1st Class Cesar Portillo. “Honestly I didn’t know what to expect, and I thought it may be a little awkward, but it turned out to be a great experience.”
Some of the Sailors thought of their own children back home, and what they would want for their kids if they were in a similar situation.
“If my daughter was in that situation I would love for someone to visit her, and show her they care, and encourage her,” said Robles. “For me it was fulfilling to be able to do that for someone else.”