OLANGAPO CITY, Philippines – Sailors and Marines from the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) distributed supplies and played games with children at Lower Kalaklan Day Care Center, on Sept. 17.
The Boxer Community Service event (COMSERV) helped the local Philippine community with supplies and provided an opportunity to show the humanitarian side of the U.S. military.
“It was an opportunity for the community to see something different about the U.S. military,” said Lt. Donelson Thevenin, chaplain aboard USS Boxer. “We are not just about war; we care for the community.”
The COMSERV event was also an important opportunity for Boxer Sailors and Marines. The day care offered them a glimpse at the Philippine lifestyle.
“The COMSERV gave our Sailors and Marines an opportunity to have a firsthand experience of the Philippine culture,” said Thevenin. “They were able to see children being taught and formed.”
Many retired U.S. servicemembers now live in the Philippines. The Subic Bay area near the school used to be a U.S. Naval base. Some former Sailors have made this country their home and decided to give back to the local community.
“It’s important that we started a school and a daycare center and support them,” said Richard Malkovich, retired Navy Chief Legalman who runs American Legion’s child welfare program in the area. “So many poor families have their kids running around in the streets. Here, the kids have daycare and a nutrition program.”
Sailors and Marines were happy to help and play with the children at Lower Kalaklan Daycare.
“I know we all saw how excited they were to have us there,” said Boxer Sailor Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Chloe Rivera. “It was a morning of new faces and everyone just having fun. It definitely brightens up your week.”