FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Sailors from the USS Delbert D. Black (DDG-119), USS Lassen (DDG 82), U.S. Coast Guard and Navy Talent Acquisition (NTAG) worked together on various community service projects as a way to say “thank you” to the Fort Lauderdale area during Fleet Week Port Everglades 2022.
While the Sailors want to give back and help the communities, such projects also provide localities an opportunity to meet, appreciate and choose to support the service members who make up the Armed Forces.
“The Navy’s Public involvement is a necessary component toward mission success. Bringing back learned tools and skills from the Navy to the community, shows that America’s future is bright,” said Chief Religious Programs Specialist Michael Clayton. Clayton supervised and helped plan the COMREL events during Fleet Week Port Everglades.
The Sailors visited Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum to complete painting, repairing and beautification projects throughout the grounds of museum. The Sailors took a tour of the museum and watched a short film. Afterwards, the staff of veterans from various branches of service provided the Sailors with lunch.
The Sailors also took on a project to help repair and restore wildlife habitats at the South Florida Wildlife Center in Fort Lauderdale Florida. The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center is a place where displaced wildlife is able to recover, rehabilitate and then be released back into it habitat in the wild.
Culinary Specialist Third Class Althea Linder from USS Delbert D. Black said, “I think community relations (COMREL) is important as a Navy Sailor because it’s important for everyone to get a different perspective. They see that Sailors are not just doing their civil duties, but are also here for them. My favorite thing about today is seeing the different animal habitats and seeing what this organization does for them is inspiring to help others.”
During the rest of the week, Sailors participated in community service events at Henderson FAU Elementary School and North Broward Preparatory School. The Sailors answered questions about the Navy and discussed various rates and jobs in the Navy. The Sailors visited the First Presbyterian Church Senior Center and spent time talking to the residents about themselves and what they were doing during Fleet Week and while serving in the Navy. At the end of the senior center visit, the Sailors danced with some of the seniors.
In all nearly 100 service members contributed more than 500 man-hours of effort to help beautify community areas and enhance relations with residents.
“Fleet Week PEV also enlightened Sailors on the impact not only for our retiree community, but it also highlighted what a polished Sailor or Marine looks like to primary, middle and high school grade levels. Community relations events should always be on the front burner of any Navy Fleet Week” said Clayton.
Broward Navy Days and other military support organizations host Fleet Week Port Everglades annually. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard ships dock at the Everglades ports and support activities designed to show Americans the investment they have made in their Navy and increase the awareness of the Navy’s role and purpose in our national defense.