SANTA RITA, Guam (NNS) -- A renaming ceremony was held March 14 to unveil Seabee Betty Drive, the main street transiting Camp Covington on Naval Base Guam, in honor of the late Vicenta Chargualaf Peredo, affectionately known as "Seabee Betty."
Senior officers, friends, family and Seabees were on hand to recognize and honor the many acts of kindness Paredo provided to deployed Seabees.
"Seabee Betty was, and still is, representative of the best of Guam, in her positive spirit and extension of hospitality, warmth, friendship and kindness," said Rear Adm. William French, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Marianas, and U.S. Defense Representative to the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and Federated States of Micronesia. "She strengthened and developed bonds between the military and the people of Guam through community service and charitable efforts, and her positive contributions endure today."
Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5 were in formation at the ceremony, and provided perspective on the importance of more than five decades of Seabee Betty's contributions to members of the Naval Construction Force.
"Being deployed to Guam without Seabee Betty is just not the same. We all miss her, and she always made us feel at home and made deployments here special," said Construction Mechanic 1st Class Cleveland Peart, who met Betty during multiple Guam deployments early in his career. "She represented the warmth and hospitality of the people here. We are lucky and appreciate that her family has continued the effort to make us feel welcomed."
Born in 1934, in the village of Yona, Seabee Betty began her relationship with service members deployed to Guam through her work at a naval base social establishment. Her support of members far from home quickly extended outside of the base, as she reached out to those far from home and invited them to become part of her extended local family. She hosted welcome and farewell fiestas for each Seabee battalion as it was deployed to Guam. The hundreds of parties attended by thousands of Seabees over the years resulted in the strengthening of bonds between the military members and the local community.
Over time, Seabee Betty received letters of appreciation from local and national military leaders. The walls of her family home, adorned with hundreds of pictures from Seabee Balls, fiestas and other military ceremonies provide a museum-like accounting of the history of Seabees on Guam, from World War II to the present day. Stacks of photo albums capture years of fond memories and relationships that were built up because of Seabee Betty.
"For those of us who have served, we appreciate what a simple afternoon spent among friends and away from the stresses of work can do for morale, well being and unit cohesion," said Seabee Force Master Chief (SCW) James Fairbanks, in a letter to Seabee Betty's family. "Betty in her own way provided this for countless young men and women through the years, and earned a place in the lore and history of Navy Seabees, never to be forgotten. From all the Seabees and indeed the United States Navy, we thank her from the bottom of our hearts."
Among the distinguished guests on hand at the ceremony were Seabee Debbie Peredo, daughter of Seabee Betty, and her husband, Seabee Joe Lujan, who have taken up the mantle of hosting Seabees in order to perpetuate the spirit and goodwill established by Seabee Betty.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, new street signs were unveiled, red balloons were released in memory of Seabee Betty, and all in attendance stood to sing "The Song of the Seabees" in unison.
"This is such a great day," remarked Peredo. "I know that Mom's looking down on all of us with a great big smile."
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