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Focus on Service

Link to a Legacy

Why One Sailor Chose to Volunteer at a Veteran's Home

Each week history is passed down and connections are made when young and old meet to play games, watch movies and share stories.

"You can read about it in history books but to hear stories from someone who was actually there and saw it with their own eyes, it really hits home," said Aviation Boatswains Mate 2nd Class Joseph Hodge. "These veterans' legacies are a large part of our American history, they are always happy to share and they deserve to have their stories heard."

Hodge, a third generation military member, is currently assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) Air Department V-4 division.

It was his love of service and his family history that drove Hodge to volunteer to become his division's community relations (COMREL) project coordinator and seek out COMRELS at veterans' homes.

"Their [veterans'] stories are timeless," said Hodge. "It is really inspiring to hear the difference between the Navy during World War II and Vietnam compared to today. It really gives you perspective on your own service."

Hodge said it is the highlight of his week when he and his division get to spend time with the veterans and listen to their stories.

"We are losing our World War II veterans and the opportunity to hear these stories first hand, by someone who was there, is fading. These legacies are a large part of our American history, how could someone not listen to them?"

"A lot of the veterans no longer have family," said Hodge. "When we go there, even if it's for one hour a week, it can turn their day around or even turn their week right around."