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USS Boxer Sailors Serve Less Fortunate at Local Charity

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jeff Hopkins, USS Boxer Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Sailors from the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) spent their morning helping the less fortunate at a local charitable organization Dec. 7.

Approximately 15 Boxer Sailors prepared ingredients, made sandwiches and served breakfast to residents of St. Vincent De Paul Village, an organization which works to help struggling individuals and families regain financial footing and rehabilitate the homeless.

Aviation Boatswain's Mate Handling Airman Apprentice Keenan Houtz, a Sailor assigned to Boxer's Air Department, went to work in one of St. Vincent's kitchens chopping potatoes and said the experience gave him a new perspective on the plight of the less fortunate.

"It's a very meditative task, cutting potatoes," Houtz said. "It's given me a chance to think about the lives of the people I'm serving. It's humbling to be around those in need."

The St. Vincent De Paul Village is a residential center for San Diego's struggling individuals and families. Started as a sandwich-distribution program for the indigent, St. Vincent offers short- and long-term residency for people struggling to find work, as well as full service medical and dental facilities. The program encourages self-sufficiency and rehabilitation. The village also offers help in attaining General Equivalency Degree and seeks employment for its residents at local job fairs. Children of resident families go to school at the on-site, county-run elementary and high schools. This would not be possible however without the help of volunteers like those from Boxer.

"We're always looking for opportunities to help out and volunteer in the external community, and were very grateful to have this opportunity to do so," said Religious Programs Assistant 2nd Class Lagicondia Phillips, the leading petty officer for Boxer's Religious Ministries Department.

Phillips serves as coordinator for the ship's numerous community relations projects and said Boxer Sailors perform the projects to give back to the local community and to humanity at large. Boxer Sailors have performed community relations projects around the globe, from repainting and cleaning up public buildings in Thailand to sanitizing classrooms to protect against H1N1 in elementary schools at home in San Diego.

For more news from USS Boxer (LHD 4), visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd4/.

Story Number: NNS091215-10 Release Date: 12/15/2009 2:26:00 PM

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