SAN DIEGO (Jan. 17, 2016) – Sailors from the weapons department onboard USS Makin Island (LHD 8) volunteered to serve lunches to families of children receiving treatment at the Ronald McDonald House in San Diego, Jan. 17.
This visit marked the second time the team of Sailors volunteered their off-duty time to help at the Ronald McDonald House.
“The best part about coming here is the personal satisfaction of helping, and seeing the families smile with genuine thanks for our visit,” said Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Teresa Lopez, from Grand Prairie, Texas.
The crew helped the regular volunteers and staff at the Ronald McDonald House set up the kitchen, prepare food, and serve meals for lunch.
Raymond Rice, a San Diego native, is the volunteer ambassador at Ronald McDonald House and is responsible for facilitating all volunteers who come to help.
“These Sailors have been wonderful,” Rice said. “If you had to look up the word service in the dictionary, you’d see the Makin Island Sailors’ picture there next to it.”
During the event, Makin Island Sailors helped the Ronald McDonald House staff set up to serve lunch, and greeted every person with a warm smile, a good conversation and a hot meal.
Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class Lachana Shelton, from Brooklyn, New York, led the Makin Island volunteers during the event.
“I’ve been coming here since around 2011,” said Shelton. “These Sailors that are helping today actually came up to me when they found out that I come here and asked how they could get involved.”
“They’re doing a lot of hard work on the ship and getting ready for our training cycle, so I’m amazed by them still wanting to come here and volunteer their off time to help others. It goes to show the kind of people we have serving in the military.”
Lopez reflected on why she thinks it’s important to continue to serve in her off-time.
“These kinds of volunteer opportunities show that not only do we have a job to do when we go overseas to defend the country,” Lopez said. “We also have a mission here at home to support and make a difference in our communities.”