BRISBANE, Australia (NNS) -- Sailors attached to the U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) and embarked 7th Fleet staff participated in a community service event at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary July 20.
At the sanctuary, Sailors volunteered to work with members of Lone Pine Koala Sanctuarys' staff as they cleared vines and other foliage that had grown all over a trail.
"The Sailors were a great help," said Terry Arnold, a Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary staff member. "The path was overgrown with natural weeds and all sorts of vegetation. They helped us to reclaim the original pathway."
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary was established in 1927 and is the world's oldest and largest koala sanctuary with over 130 koalas along with various other native Australian animals.
In 2011, the Brisbane River became flooded due to a series of flash floods that occurred across Queensland, resulting in the sanctuary's river walk area being destroyed.
"The 2011 flooding was a major catastrophe in this area," said Arnold. "Many homes throughout Brisbane were flooded and our river walk, our trail way, went completely underwater."
"Everyone involved worked hard and accomplished more than was expected from us," said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Caitlin Clarke. "I feel like the Sailors left a lasting impression at Lone Pine.
"We were able to show the Australian community the good the U.S. Navy can provide, and I know the Blue Ridge crew will be invited back if ever the ship makes another visit to Brisbane."
After the trail was finally cleared, the Sailors were treated to some of the shows at the sanctuary courtesy of Lone Pine's staff, including a sheep herding and shearing demonstration and a birds of prey flight demonstration.
"The experience was definitely worthwhile," said Seaman Laurel Goodwin. "Coming here gave me an opportunity to experience a bit of the culture."
"We always love seeing Sailors in town and pride ourselves on being able to share with them an experience that is authentically Australian," said Arnold.
Blue Ridge has been forward deployed to the Yokosuka, Japan region for nearly 36 years and is currently on patrol, strengthening and fostering relationships within the Indo-Asia Pacific Region.
For more news from USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), visit www.navy.mil/local/lcc19/.