NORFOLK (NNS) -- Nine Sailors from the Dental Department on board USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) volunteered their professional services during the annual "Homeless Connect" campaign in Norfolk Jan. 12.
In coordination with the Red Cross, Truman participants administered preventive dentistry work, tooth filings, aesthetic work and surgical procedures to local homeless civilians during the community relations project at the Scope Arena.
"Providing these kinds of services to the community is part of the mission," said Cmdr. Jorge Graziani, Truman's dental officer. "Extending our services in such a way builds a stronger relationship between the military and the local community. It's also a great way to help those who don't necessarily have ways to receive proper dental care."
Norfolk's Office to End Homelessness, in partnership with the United Way of South Hampton Roads, sponsored the annual event.
"The Navy has been helping us with this event for a long time," said Sarah Fuller, director of Norfolk's Office to End Homelessness. "The military is a great part of our community. It's nice to see people who aren't from this area connect with civilians who are very much in need."
In addition to the oral hygiene center, the campaign offered other services to those in need including updating or renewing food stamps and photo identification. They were also given the opportunity to apply or renew social security benefits and register to vote.
"The intent of the campaign is to find people who aren't currently engaged in homeless services," said Fuller. "It's for adults who are living on the streets or emergency homeless shelters."
Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class (SW) Jodie Stump, Truman's only licensed dental hygienist, performed a basic cleaning on Steve Byrd. She also informed him of the proper way to brush and floss his teeth to prevent gum disease.
"I think it's good for the patient to know exactly what they have going on in their mouth so they have the knowledge to correct it in the future," said Stump. "I like to take my time with my patients to show them I care about my job. I love helping people and they always seem to appreciate the hygienic care I give them."
"She did a great job," said Byrd. "She took her time, she was very patient, and my mouth feels a lot better. I am very grateful to those who provided their services to us."
Stump said being able to administer care to the local community is what makes the Navy a paradigm of community relations.
"Everybody sees the humanitarian efforts we do in countries throughout the world, but a lot of people forget we are also here to help our home land," said Stump. "We are here to brighten our city. There are still people down the street from our base who need help, and I think its part of our job to use our capabilities to assist them in any way we can."
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.