SAN DIEGO ¬¬-- Sailors from future USS Tripoli (LHA 7) Pre-Commissioning Detachment (PCD) San Diego offered their time and assistance to veterans living in the Chula Vista Veterans Home on Jan. 31, engaging in both physical tasks and simple interactions.
Chief Electronics Technician Zachary Miller, PCD Tripoli’s Community Relations coordinator in San Diego, along with Gas Turbine Systems Mechanic 1st Class Stuart Watkins coordinated with the volunteer coordinator at the Chula Vista Veterans Home, to find out how Tripoli Sailors could help.
“We decided to volunteer at the Veterans Home in Chula Vista so we could give back to the community that paved the way for us in the military,” said Watkins. “It was really a great turnout today.”
During the event, the 20 Sailors from PCD Tripoli broke off into small groups to provide assistance in various tasks. Assignments included moving furniture, as well as landscaping the pathways and common areas for the residents.
Other groups provided help in the kitchen as well as serving food during lunchtime, while another group worked to help organize the items in the warehouse.
“We unboxed items, labeled the items inside the boxes, then repackaged the items and put them back on the storage racks for better organization,” said Chief Navy Counselor Tesheka Jemmott. “It was an amazing opportunity and I can’t wait for the next one.”
For some Sailors this was not only their first experience volunteering at a Veterans Home, but also their first time volunteering for any organization.
"This is my first volunteer project that I ever participated in and I really enjoyed interacting with the veterans,” said Interior Communications Electrician Seaman Kaylee Fry, who is temporarily assigned to PCD Tripoli from the USS Paul Ignatius (DDG 117) Pre-Commissioning Detachment (PCD). “I would love to volunteer at the Veterans Home again, because it was very fulfilling knowing I helped improve their stay there.”
“The interaction with those who have been there and done things we continue to do today was my favorite part of the event,” said Watkins. “I really enjoyed it.”
A healthy volunteer spirit is actively encouraged and supported by the ship’s leadership and recognized as a staple.
“It’s always great to give something back and I’m proud of the members of Team Tripoli who not only volunteered, but did it with a nod to our heritage in electing to help out Veterans,” said Tripoli Executive Officer Capt. Lonnie L. Appleget.
USS Tripoli is an America-class amphibious assault ship currently under construction at Huntington Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula, Mississippi.