PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Sailors aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold (DDG 65) celebrated National Hispanic Heritage Month with an event hosted by the ship's multicultural committee, Oct. 4.
Senior Chief Culinary Specialist Victor Chiquito, from Guanajuato, Mexico, was the guest speaker for the event, and spoke of this year's theme "Shaping the Bright Future of America."
"If you look around, we represent just about every part of the world and that's what makes us so great," Chiquito said. "Together we are very strong. I'm so thankful every morning I put my uniform on. Even though I was not born in the United States, I wear the uniform as if I was born there."
Multicultural committee president, Damage Controlman 2nd Class Tashika Garraway, from St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, gave a presentation highlighting the historic contributions Hispanic Americans and military service members have made in defending our nation.
"It gives people and leaders a chance to adapt and know their personnel and know who you're working with," Garraway said. "You get to know more about people and their background. "
Cmdr. Leroy Mitchell, commanding officer of Benfold, concluded the ceremony with a speech mentioning Rear Adm. Christina (Tina) Alvarado, deputy chief for Reserve Policy, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery.
"She [Alvarado] said, 'I am merely a representative, a servant leader and though I wear my stars proudly, I also wear them with great humility never forgetting those who helped me along the way and, most importantly, remembering those whom I serve.'"
"For me it's all about the servant leadership that Rear Adm. Alvarado talked about," said Mitchell. "It's about giving back to the Sailors. It's my goal as a servant leader to provide my Sailors with the tools to succeed in life."
National Hispanic Heritage Month is held every year between Sept. 15 and Oct. 15.
Benfold is on patrol in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.
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