NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- Sailors aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) received the 2007 Flagship "Project Good Neighbor" award Jan. 7 for their volunteer efforts in serving the Hampton Roads community.
For the Sailors assigned to the ship's Religious Ministries Department (RMD), the recognition was a great honor earned through hard work and selfless service to others.
"This is our third award in as many years, so we're really excited to be able to earn this distinction for our ship," said Religious Program Specialist 1st Class Danny Stamates, leading petty officer for the ship's RMD. "Our Sailors have done a great job volunteering their time and efforts in Hampton Roads. Our crew and the community are better because of our Sailors' selfless efforts."
Much of the responsibility for leading and coordinating Carl Vinson's community service events falls on the Sailors assigned to the ship's religious ministries team, which is responsible for accounting and documenting the many hours of community service provided by crew members.
In 2007, more than 40,000 volunteer hours were donated to the Hampton Roads community by Sailors assigned to Carl Vinson.
Lt. Shane Dillman, Carl Vinson's chaplain who has served multiple tours overseas with Sailors and Marines, said the crew's dedication to volunteer service is among the best he's witnessed in his Navy career.
"This ship has the most motivated and dedicated Sailors that I have had the privilege to serve with," said Dillman. "The entire crew has contributed so much of their free time to help their shipmates and this community."
The centerpiece for the ship's 2007 volunteer effort was Carl Vinson's participation in America's 400th anniversary celebration, held in Jamestown, Va. in May. During the event, more than 600 Carl Vinson Sailors offered 3,600-volunteer hours to ensure the anniversary weekend was a success.
Other notable events include the aircraft carrier's ongoing participation in the Hampton Roads "Toys for Tots" campaign. As part of the holiday effort, Carl Vinson Sailors collected, sorted and loaded toys on trucks for delivery to children throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.
Since arriving in Hampton Roads almost three years ago, community service has become an integral part of many Sailors' tour on board Carl Vinson. Because of their experiences and achievements in service to local citizens, crew members understand the importance and the value their volunteer efforts bring to the community.
"Volunteerism is a big emphasis on Carl Vinson and an important part of being a Sailor," said Ship Serviceman 3rd Class Jessie Lu, of the ship's Supply Department. "We not only live in the community, we're part of it - and we want to help make our community a better place to live."
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.
For more news from USS Carl Vinson, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn70/.