Truman Strengthens Friendships, Gives Back to Local Greek Community

Story Number: NNS080514-15Release Date: 5/14/2008 3:00:00 PM
A  A  A   Email this story to a friend   Print this story
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Heather Weaver, USS Harry S. Truman Public Affairs

RHODES, Greece (NNS) -- More than 100 Sailors from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) participated in a community relations (COMREL) project, May 8, in Rhodes to help beautify the historic Rodini park here.

Rear Adm. Mark Fox, Commander, Carrier Strike Group (CCSG) 10, said participating in events such as this allows Sailors to create bonds with the local community that will last for years to come.

"We are pleased to be able to take part in this project and represent the U.S.," Fox said. "The Sailors are very excited and bring a lot of young energy here. These types of interactions are very important because we are able to show the [Greek] people that what is important to them is also important to us."

Before Sailors began their work on the park, Daniel Speckhard, U.S. Ambassador to Greece, and the Mayor of Rhodes, Chatzis Chatziefthimiou, presented Truman with a memento of thanks. Speckhard said he appreciated Sailors taking time from their liberty to help with the park beautification because it shows our Greek allies that America shares their same values.

"For us to pay respect to their history as you're doing here by coming to this park and helping to clean up and, [you are] showing how important it is to us too. As citizens from the same world, to protect our culture and heritage in common to them means a lot and it shows them that Americans, care about them, care about their community, care about their history and care about the beauty of the island."

Fire Controlman 2nd Class Crystal Ditro, one of the participants, said she enjoys volunteering for COMRELs because it gives her a chance to see the local community in a different light.

"We worked and interacted with a few of the locals, and while we were out there, they were showing us pictures of their wives and children, and we got to do the same thing for them. We were able to ask each other questions and communicate. If you were out in town you couldn't just go up to someone and start asking questions," she said.

Another volunteer noted COMREL events help develop international relations.

"This is one of the oldest parks in this area and it's certainly a place the community spends a lot of its time," said volunteer Lt. Cmdr. Casey Baker. "You get to work with a lot of the local workers and some of the people that are here and it gives you a different perspective. Like us, they want a nice park where they can take their families and hang out and have a good time. So, we can help make it a nice place for people to bring their families. It shows them that we are their friends and we hope to keep it that way."

Lt. Cmdr. Steve Smith, a chaplain and event organizer, explained Sailor participation increases morale and self esteem.

"It's good for the Sailors," Smith said. "The Sailors love giving, it really encourages them. If we are mind, body and soul it's one way they can spiritually give back; caring for others."

For more news from USS Harry S. Truman, visit

The Honorable Dan Speckhard, U.S. Ambassador to Greece, addresses the captain and crew members of the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN75), local Greek officials and invited guests from the Island of Rhodes.
080507-N-3235P-145 RHODES, Greece (May 7, 2008) The Honorable Dan Speckhard, U.S. Ambassador to Greece, addresses the captain and crew members of the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN75), local Greek officials and invited guests from the Island of Rhodes, as Rear Adm. Mark Fox, commander, Carrier Strike Group 10, and Capt. Herman Shelanski, commanding officer of Harry S. Truman, looks on during a sunset reception held in the carrier's hangar bay. The reception was held to thank the Island of Rhodes and its officials for hosting the carrier during their most recent port visit. Truman is assigned to 6th Fleet and conducting theater security cooperative activities in the eastern Mediterranean. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Michael W. Pendergrass (Released)
May 12, 2008
Navy Social Media
Sign up for email updates To sign up for updates or to access your subscriber preferences, please click on the envelope icon in the page header above or click here.