NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- Twenty-one Sailors from USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) gathered at Willis A. Jenkins Elementary School in Newport News, Va., May 13 to help support the school's annual athletic field day and engage with students.
The Sailors administered 25 different athletic events, including Nerf hockey, tug-of-war and various obstacle courses, and made sure the 230 participating students had fun while being safe.
Denise Neveux, a 28-year physical education teacher and organizer of the field day, said her father was a World War II Navy veteran, and she enjoys having the Sailors come out to support the school because they provide good examples for the children.
"It's cool for our kindergarteners, first and second graders to see role models and see how USS Theodore Roosevelt Sailors treat everyone," said Neveux. "The school is big on careers so the kids will see the Navy as an option. The military also instills discipline and having the Sailors here is a good way to show the kids how important that is."
Master Chief Machinist's Mate (SW/AW) Preston Whitlock, from Theodore Roosevelt's Engineering Department, said that it's important for Sailors to participate in community relations projects such as this.
"Health and fitness is where we're focusing today, so it's important for them to get out and be active," said Whitlock.
"Being involved builds camaraderie between the local community and lets them know we care," said Whitlock. "On a scale of one to 10, today was above a 10. It was energetic and inspirational to interact with the kids. They're the future, and we have to let them know that we care. I have a 4 year old, and playing with him is something you can't replace, so getting out with these kids is something I really enjoy."
Raevon Davis, a first grader at Jenkins, said his favorite event for the day was the broad jump.
"I really liked that one because you get to jump really far. I also liked the animal toss and a lot of other games," said Davis. "I'm happy that the Navy is here."
Jenkins Elementary School is one of the many community relations projects Theodore Roosevelt Sailors have been involved with in 2011 in the Hampton Roads area.
Theodore Roosevelt is currently undergoing its scheduled mid-life Refueling Complex Overhaul (RCOH) at Newport News shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries.
During the 39-month maintenance period, Theodore Roosevelt's fuel will be replenished and significant upgrades will be made to the ship's combat and communication systems to extend the ship's service life for 25 or more years. All Nimitz-class aircraft carriers go through RCOH near the mid-point of their 50-year life cycle.
For more news from USS Theodore Roosevelt, visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn71/ or visit TR on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/USS-Theodore-Roosevelt/99861510779/.