NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Sailors from USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) volunteered at Sewells Point Elementary School in Norfolk, Va., June 3, to support the school's annual athletic field day and positively mentor students.
The Sailors participated in many activities including races, a water balloon toss, face painting and creating sun visors. They aided in the event to not only to connect with the community, but to celebrate physical fitness, fun and the end of the school year.
According to Mary Wrushen, Sewells Point School principal, the field day has been an annual event for 12 years and needs volunteers like TR Sailors to make a connection that makes a difference.
"We look to the military to be mentors for our children," said Wrushen. "We need the volunteers because this event takes months of planning. The military comes out here to involve themselves in a community activity. The parents, students, teachers and administrators are all involved in the field day at this school – so we certainly want to involve an organization like the USS Theodore Roosevelt."
Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class (SW) Mercy Dowell, TR's Command Religious Ministries Department's leading petty officer and a sponsor for Sewells Point School, said she wants the students to know that TR Sailors care about them.
"I would like the students to see that the United States Navy is not just about fighting wars and going overseas," said Dowell. "We're about showing that we care about our kids, our community and our society."
Dowell's sentiments were echoed by the other TR Sailors who spend the day at the school.
"The kids look up to us – the Theodore Roosevelt," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Equipment) Airman William Bird. "As I was eating lunch, I noticed that every kid was smiling and waving at me. They admire us for being here, being with them."
To 4-year-old student Mylea Smallwood, one particular event of the field day delighted her.
"The face painting made everybody's faces beautiful," said Smallwood. "I was happy."
"We want the kids to see that the TR can take time away from our busy schedule," said Dowell. "We want to come out and show our support for the kids and show them that we're a global force for good."
Theodore Roosevelt is currently undergoing its scheduled mid-life refueling complex overhaul (RCOH) at Northrop Grumman Newport News Shipyard. During the 39-month maintenance period, TR'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 (CVN 71), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn71/.