COLOMBO, Maldives (NNS) -- Officers and crew from the Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate USS Rodney M. Davis (FFG 60) visited ViliMale on the North Male Atoll, Oct. 9, to participate in community relations events with the local community.
With support from the Maldives National Defence Forces and the Ministry of Law and Gender, the Sailors volunteered their personal liberty time to participate in these activities to learn more about the Maldivian people and foster friendship between the two countries.
"Time off is very precious because our sailors put in long hours while we are at sea," said Lt. Russell Wolfkiel, public affairs officer for the Rodney M. Davis. "One of the highlights of deployment is the opportunity to engage with the local communities when we visit exotic ports like Maldives."
At the Kudakudhinge Hiyaa orphanage, Sailors brought paint and tools to repainted the interior of the building. Special fire safety trainers also lent their expertise to service fire extinguishers and demonstrate proper usage.
"This is very important for us," said Mohamed Shafeeg, deputy director of Kudakudhinge Hiyaa, expressing his appreciation for the assistance of Rodney M. Davis sailors. "We are very appreciative of your team to come here and do some painting and to take some time to explain the fire alarm systems."
A second group from the Rodney M. Davis also joined a local youth movement called "Save the Beach Maldives" to pick up debris from the beach. These included heavy concrete pieces left over from construction projects.
"We hope more people want to help places like this in the future because it's not just a problem for Maldives here. It's a problem for everyone around the world," said Fathimath Thanzeela Naeem, the lead coordinator for the cleanup. "We are all connected by the ocean so I'm sure that bigger countries like the U.S. could make an impact as well."
Rodney M. Davis departed the Maldives Oct. 9, concluding its four-day port visit. In addition to the activities on ViliMale, sailors also participated in sporting activities with the Maldivian National Defense Force Coast Guard, building camaraderie and friendships with the local mariners.
"I like being able to come overseas and help out other people and see how they live," said Ship's Serviceman 1st Class Daniel Cornede. "Especially when it comes to cleaning up the beach, because I come from Hawaii, and this is how I was raised to pick up trash off the beach."
Based out of Everett, Wash., Rodney M. Davis is on patrol in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.