NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- A group of USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Sailors participated in a community relations (COMREL) project July 13 at Saunders Elementary School in Newport News, Va.
The Sailors laid out mulch on four playgrounds and under several jungle-gyms used to entertain the more than 450 Saunders students, in kindergarten through fifth grade.
"Thanks to [the Carl Vinson] Sailors, we were able to complete a four-man job in a fraction of the usual time," said Jeremy Randall, a Saunders employee on the school's maintenance staff. "It was great to have them."
"Mulching" describes the practice of covering soil with a layer of material that will provide a variety of beneficial gardening results. Mulch can limit weeds, conserve soil moisture, moderate soil temperature, decrease soil compaction, and may also reduce the spread of some soil-born diseases - one of the school's priorities while preparing for the new school year in August.
"I love making a difference and volunteering in these kinds of projects," said Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Angela DeRosa, a COMREL coordinator and volunteer from weapons department.
"America's Favorite Aircraft Carrier" has officially logged more than 15,000 volunteer hours and is pushing to meet a command goal of 80,000 hours before autumn of next year.
Since pulling into the Tidewater area, the command has had 2,783 Sailors volunteer for various COMREL projects, which have helped Sailors connect and provide aid to their local community - a community that appreciates them very much.
"Thanks for all your service; what you do is great...I know I couldn't do it," said Randall.
Carl Vinson is currently undergoing its scheduled refueling complex overhaul (RCOH) at Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard. The RCOH is an extensive yard period that all Nimitz-class aircraft carriers go through near the mid-point of their 50-year life cycle.
During RCOH Carl Vinson's nuclear fuel will be replenished and the ship's services and infrastructure will be upgraded to make her the most state-of-the-art aircraft carrier in the fleet and prepare her for another 25 years or more of service.
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