HONG KONG (NNS) -- A group of 24 Sailors and Marines from amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) and embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) spent a day at a local dog shelter as part of a community service project in Hong Kong, May 27.
Sailors and Marines volunteered to bathe dogs and perform yard work at the Hong Kong Dog Rescue Center during the ship's May 25-28 port visit.
Hong Kong resident Yaeng Jae, or "Auntie Jae" as she is known by volunteers, said she opened the shelter 10 years ago and it is now home to more than 400 dogs and 300 cats.
Jae said she appreciates the help from the Navy and Marine Corps when they make a port visit to Hong Kong, and she doesn't know what she would do without their assistance
"I'm definitely a dog person," said Cmdr. Julie Hendrickson, a nurse assigned to the 11th MEU who volunteered for the community service project. "I always enjoy meeting and connecting with dogs so I was glad to have this opportunity to work with animals and help the people who are trying to help the dogs."
Hendrickson said she is also a dog owner who does animal rescue work in the San Diego area. Volunteering for a community service project that involved dogs was one of the highlights of her visit to Hong Kong.
Other Sailors and Marines who volunteered for the project said they enjoyed the opportunity to work with the animals.
"There's a lot of work to do here," said Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Electrical) 3rd Class Brandon Smith. "I tried to get them to calm down enough to give them a bath."
Smith said that at the beginning of the day many of the dogs were in need of a lot of care, but by the end of the day they were clean and volunteers had also cut the grass at the shelter.
"Projects like this are a good way to reach out to communities and show people another side of the military they wouldn't ordinarily see," said Lt. Jeff Perry, a chaplain assigned to Makin Island.
More than 2,000 Sailors and Marines were able to experience the culture of Hong Kong during the four-day port visit. In addition to the community service project at the animal shelter, a group of 35 Sailors and Marines also helped to distribute food to the elderly.
Makin Island is the first U.S. Navy ship to deploy using a hybrid-electric propulsion system. By using this unique propulsion system, the Navy expects over the course of the ship's lifecycle, to see fuel savings of more than $250 million, proving the Navy's commitment to energy awareness and conservation.
This initiative is one of many throughout the Navy and Marine Corps that will enable the Department of the Navy to achieve the Secretary of the Navy's energy goals to improve our energy security and efficiency afloat and ashore, increase our energy independence and help lead the nation toward a clean energy economy.
Makin Island is the flagship of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group that is currently deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.
The 7th Fleet area of operations includes more than 52 million square miles of the Pacific and Indian oceans, stretching from the international date line to the east coast of Africa, and from the Kuril Islands in the north to the Antarctic in the south.
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from USS Makin Island (LHD 8), visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd8/.