GALVESTON, Texas (NNS) -- When Adalberto Fuentes left his hometown of Galveston, Texas, more than two years ago to join the United States Navy, he never imagined he would return someday with his military service to give back to the community who gave him so much growing up.
Quartermaster Seaman Adalberto Fuentes serves on board the amphibious assault ship USS Nassau (LHA 4) where he performs essential duties as a quartermaster including navigation and planning operations.
As Nassau and other military units were called upon to help in the recovery efforts in the Galveston area, an opportunity arose for Fuentes to not only play a part in helping his city but also a chance to see first-hand the effects Hurricane Ike had on his home.
"I grew up in this very house I stand in front of and lived here for over 10 years," said Fuentes. "I met a lot of good people here and have many fond memories attached to this place and the community."
After the Sailor visited his home for the first time since the hurricane hit, his initial reaction showed how the storm affected him personally.
"I was shocked to see how bad my home was really hit," Fuentes explained. "As I walked through the neighborhood and saw some of the houses weren't bad, I was hoping mine wouldn't be too bad either. Then as I arrived at my home I was greeted by fences being knocked over, trees laying on the ground, broken windows and debris all around. It was a devastating sight to see."
Fuentes went on to explain the sight he remembers the last time he came home just several months ago and the sight he sees as of now.
"The last time I was home to visit was in July; everything looked good and conditions were normal - like they have always been. Now as I sit here assessing the effects Hurricane Ike has had on my house and the neighborhood I've loved over the years, I see nothing but devastation and destruction."
When a natural disaster such as Hurricane Ike hits, the recovery efforts are essential in assisting those in need. Nassau and other military units are playing their part by utilizing many capabilities to assist civil authorities in the Galveston area.
"I feel the military is making a huge difference by being here," said Fuentes. "I'm very lucky to come back to my hometown and make a difference through my military service. It's now my turn to give back to the town that gave me so many things growing up."
USS Nassau and other military units are working together in support of civil authorities to help the recovery process in Galveston and other areas of Texas damaged in the wake of Hurricane Ike.
For more news from USS Nassau, visit www.navy.mil/local/lha4.