Yeoman 3rd Class Jesse Welsh, left, and Interior Communications Electrician 2nd Class Sidney Hendrickson playing basketball. 

BUSAN, Republic of Korea (Feb. 25, 2012) - Yeoman 3rd Class Jesse Welsh, left, and Interior Communications Electrician 2nd Class Sidney Hendrickson of 7th Fleet flagship, USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) play basketball with a Korean child at a community service project while the ship is in Busan, Republic of Korea. While in port, Blue Ridge Sailors and embarked 7th Fleet staff will interact with their Republic of Korea navy counterparts and participate in various community service events. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timmy Wakefield/Released)
US, ROK Sailors Find Common Ground in Community Service 
Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timmy Wakefield  
BUSAN, Republic of Korea - Sixty Sailors from USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) U.S. Seventh Fleet flagship, embarked 7th Fleet staff, and Republic of Korea (ROK) navy came together as one team participating in a community service (COMSERV) project at a children’s home during a port visit to Busan, Republic of Korea Feb. 25.

Blue Ridge Chaplain Lt. Donald Baker coordinated the visit with Hee-Rak-Won Children’s Home Director Mr. Park Hyo-il, and ROK Navy liaison Mr., Kim Jong-Soon. This community service event was established to strengthen the friendship of both militaries and the children’s home while bringing happiness to the children.

Hyo-il said the children enjoyed the interaction with U.S. Navy Sailors because of how interesting and unique this opportunity was for them. This event builds on the United States’ partnership with the Republic of Korea and its people.

The children performed drum cadences, played games with Sailors from both nations and Sailors also lended a hand to help clean up the outside of the children’s home.

Despite the fact participants were challenged with a language barrier they turned the event into a memorable experience for all involved.

Aerographer’s Mate 1st Class Amy Kellans said, “There’s a language barrier between us, the children and the ROK Navy but our friendship was the universal bond we had with each other.” Kellans added, “I’m so glad I did this COMSERV today, getting the chance to be with these children.”

For Yeoman 3rd Class Jesse Welsh, the experience was more than volunteering his time for the children.

“After visiting with the children and realizing how little they have, it helped me put my life into perspective,” said Welsh. “It’s amazing to realize how we impacted the children positively with our presence.”

Blue Ridge is under the command of Commanding Officer Capt. Daniel Grieco and is the flagship of the U.S. 7th Fleet. Blue Ridge is under the purview of Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet Vice Adm. Scott Swift and Commander, Amphibious Forces 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Scott Jones.
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