SAN DIEGO -- USS Makin Island’s (LHD 8) First Class Petty Officer Association donated food, water, and basic necessities to first responders and crew members within hours of a fire aboard USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) July 12.
On the morning of July 12, a fire was called away aboard the ship while it was moored pier side at Naval Base San Diego. Base and shipboard firefighters responded to the fire. Bonhomme Richard is going through a maintenance availability that began in 2018.
Makin Island Sailors raised more than $1,500 throughout the day, and purchased other essential items like hygiene products, clothes, phone chargers, and boxes.
“We decided to start a donation collection, and 45 minutes later, I had collected over $1,300,” said Logistics Specialist 1st Class Lexi Becerra-O’Brien, the Makin Island FCPOA Secretary.
Some of the Makin Island volunteers helped sort and distribute food and essentials to the Bonhomme Richard Sailors late into the evening.
Due to the extent and devastation of the fire many Bonhomme Richard Sailors who lived aboard the ship lost all their personal belongings.
“Some of them are literally left with nothing but the shirt on their back,” said Fire Controlman 1st Class Varinda Thongpet. “They should know that someone is there for them, regardless of command. I was thinking what if it happened to us and my Sailors, what would I want them to have?”
Makin Island Sailors have received messages from members of the Bonhomme Richard crew of appreciation and comfort, knowing that Makin Island is ready to assist as needed.
“We only have each other,” said Thongpet. “Complete strangers, who we have never met, but we share this bond because of the military service we have in common.”