USS Harry S. Truman Mustangs Make a Difference

Story Number: NNS080906-32Release Date: 9/6/2008 9:32:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class James Fallon, USS Harry S. Truman Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- USS Harry S. Truman's (CVN 75) Mustang Association pitched in and helped out the Ronald McDonald House Charities as part of a community relations project (COMREL) Aug. 22 in Norfolk.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Carl Smith, radio officer and mustang secretary, noted that the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Norfolk provide a home away from home for families of seriously ill children. Truman's Mustang Association cooked breakfast for the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House.

"We got together and made breakfast for them, so they could have a hot meal before they see their loved ones at the hospital," Smith said. "That will hopefully help them get through the day. We served pancakes, sausages, fruits, but our special was the hot eggs and bacon."

Ensign Tracy Culbert, the communications officer and an active member of Truman's Mustang Association, talked to a woman who had a child at the hospital and said she was amazed to see Truman's Mustang Association cooking breakfast and serving them coffee.

"We were actually a surprise to them," Culbert said. "The way they do it at the McDonald House is that the families have to provide their own food and prepare it themselves. So for them to have a hot meal was extremely appreciative from their point of view."

The families were extremely thankful for the breakfast because it saved them time that normally would have been taken away from their sick child at the hospital.

"Now that we are back from deployment, we are trying to get a COMREL with them every month," said Smith. "We will cook breakfast for the families, clean up the Ronald McDonald House or whatever they need. We will help out.

"We have got the time to help other people out," Smith said. "Not only do we help our country by serving in the military, but also we help take care of other folks in the community, and that is what we do."

Some participants say COMRELs are important because they show officers getting together with junior enlisted Sailors and working together to give back to the community.

"When we are working together at a COMREL, it's not about rank; it is about team building, giving back to the community and showing everyone that we do it for the pleasure and enjoyment of helping people out," said Culbert.

"The COMREL was a great experience, and I enjoyed the camaraderie of the mustang association, and just to see what we do to help support the community as far as the families are concerned is phenomenal."

Some of the mustangs say they take great pride in lending a helping hand to the community.

"We are there to pitch in and help them out, whether it is cooking them a nice meal or whatever we can do to help support them," said Smith. "You could see the smiles, the enjoyment, the laughter of the families because they were very grateful for what we were doing. We are looking forward to do more COMRELS and supporting the community."

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