HONG KONG (NNS) -- Kicking off their indoctrination, chief petty officer (CPO) selectees from USS Lassen (DDG 82) took time during their most-recent liberty port in Hong Kong to lend a hand to an international charitable organization.
Crossroads International is a nonprofit institute that collects donations from Hong Kong's citizens and redistributes the items to people in need around the world. Living up to their name, Crossroads International literally seeks to be a place where need and resources interact.
During their indoctrination process, the CPO selectees are becoming members of the chief petty officer community and learning that they, too, will soon become a "crossroads" for the young Sailors in their charge.
"What was great about (this project) was it showed our (selectees) what happens when chiefs get together and do something positive for the community," said Lassen Command Master Chief (SW/AW) David Kenneweg. "It doesn't matter what community you are in. If there is someone in need, it is always good to be able to assist."
The Aug. 8 community relations project in Hong Kong was the first time the Lassen team of selectees worked together on a project, and their first experience of the camaraderie and the power of teamwork within the CPO ranks.
"It was important getting together for the first time with the (chiefs)," said CPO selectee, Aviation Warfare Systems Operator 1st Class (AW) Michael Riollano. "On top of that, doing something where we represented the mess in a very positive and visible manner was great."
At the end of the day, the selectees and the seasoned chief petty officers who accompanied them walked away from the experience impressed with the difference Crossroads International makes in the world, and with the chance they had to make a difference in the Hong Kong community.
"There are a lot of people doing great things with what is given," said Chief Operations Specialist (SW) Kevin Welch. "I was happy to be a part of it ... It was a very good day. We met good people and enjoyed the fellowship with people from all walks (of life) doing a great job. What more can you want?"
For the selectees specifically, the experience gave them new admiration for community relations and an understanding of the important role chief petty officers play in the community, even if it means not knowing the fruits of their labor.
"I got a huge appreciation for helping someone that I will never meet," said CPO selectee Boatswain's Mate 1st Class (SW/AW) Jerome Bryan.
Just as the chief petty officer selectees begin their new journey, Lassen recently began her service to country as a U.S. Navy asset. Commissioned April 21, 2001, the guided-missile destroyer is currently on her maiden deployment with the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group. The strike group is deployed in the western Pacific as a standing commitment to peace, stability and theater security in cooperation with friends and allies in the region.
For related news, visit the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn70.