FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (NNS) -- Sailors from fast-attack submarine USS Toledo (SSN 769) volunteered to visit children at Chris Evert Children's Hospital at Broward General Medical Center during Fleet Week Port Everglades 2009.
Sailors moved from one pediatric unit to another, handing out autographed photos of the boat and bringing some warmth and cheer to the young patients.
"I love being able to make the kids smile," said Fire Control Technician 2nd Class Douglas Sykes. "I used to work in a hospital so I know that the little things can make the kids feel like a million bucks for a week."
Trying to find ways to pick up the kids spirits day in and day out can be a challenge, according to Kathie Capstack, a community relations representative at Broward General.
"We are so happy to have these Sailors here, doing this for the kids," she said "This really made their day."
Sailors also shared jokes and played video games with the chidren.
"Nothing hurts my feelings more than seeing them down," said Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Brett Liebich. "Going there was great because any little thing we could do was worth it."
For some Toledo Sailors had even greater motivation to participate.
"I have young brothers and a three year-old daughter and even though it is sad to see these kids like this, I would want someone to do this for my family," said Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Miguel Hernandez.
Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsman from Toledo, amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48), the guided-missile destroyer USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98), medium endurance cutter USCGC Tahoma (WMEC 908), Naval Beach Group 2 and 2nd Marine Division spent time visiting hospitals, schools and veterans homes in the Fort Lauderdale, Fla. area throughout the week.
Fleet Week is an annual event in south Florida, put together by the Broward Navy Days organization and the Broward County Navy League. More than 1,000 service members took part in the festivities.
For more news from Commander Navy Region Southeast, visit www.navy.mil/local/nrse/.