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John Paul Jones Helps Out Animal Shelter

By Oyaol Ngirairikl, Joint Region Marianas Public Affairs

SANTA RITA, Guam (NNS) -- A culinary specialist from USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53)was amongst a group of Sailors that helped clean up kennels and keep orphaned pets company at the Guam Animals in Need (GAIN) shelter in Yigo May 7.

Culinary Specialist 1st Class (SW) Melissa Hartley and other John Paul Jones Sailors lent a helping hand to local non-profit agencies, strengthening an ever-growing relationship between island residents and the military.

"I love animals and whenever we go to port, I try to participate in a community project to help give back to the people there," Hartley said. "And Guam is definitely special because everyone here is so warm and welcoming, you can't help but want to do something nice in return."

Noni Davis, GAIN director, said the non-profit agency has a small staff and relies heavily on volunteers to help with everything from daily chores and grounds maintenance to clerical work.

"Every little bit of help we can get is welcomed with open arms," Davis said. "After working so hard out at sea, they're (John Paul Jones Sailors) coming here to help us and we really are grateful for them."

Another group of volunteers helped paint and provide general maintenance at Island Girl Power May 8.

Like GAIN, Island Girl Power relies on volunteers to run its programs, which aim to empower young girls and help them make positive life choices.

"It's especially wonderful when we have our Sailors come out because it tells our girls that people in the community care about their well being," said Juanita Blas, project director for Island Girl Power. "But through these Sailors, the girls also see that there are so many adventures waiting for them in the world. They really look up to the Sailors that come out and help make the club house a better place."

John Paul Jones is the third Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer and the first ship of its class homeported on the West Coast. The ship's mission is to conduct prompt and sustained operations at sea in support of U.S. national interests. John Paul Jones is capable of operating independently, as an element of a coordinated force or as the nucleus of a surface action group, directing and coordinating anti-air, surface, undersea and strike warfare operations. The ship is named in honor of Naval hero John Paul Jones.

Story Number: NNS090629-17 Release Date: 6/29/2009 4:52:00 PM

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