Recruit Training Command Staff Commitment Builds Stronger Community

Story Number: NNS180711-06Release Date: 7/11/2018 12:51:00 PM
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By Alan Nunn, Recruit Training Command Public Affairs

CHICAGO (NNS) -- More than a dozen Recruit Training Command staff members participated in a Habitat for Humanity event July 6, in North Chicago in an effort to assist in building a stronger community through community outreach.

The skills and talents of RTC Recruit Division Commanders (RDCs) and instructors were put to good use as part of a roofing project for a three-bedroom, 1,500-foot North Chicago home in support of Habitat for Humanity Lake County.

Operations Specialist 1st Class Stephanie Edinger, an RDC, has organized eight volunteer groups since December on behalf of Habitat for Humanity Lake County. She noted the importance of RTC staff making a positive contribution to their community.

"What we're focusing on is helping to build homes for low-income families so they have a safe place to sleep at night," said Edinger. "I feel like the community has done a lot for us and this is one thing we can do on our part to give back. We're having a positive impact not only for ourselves but to our community and the families in the community."

Edinger said she's received a positive response from RTC staff in support of Habitat for Humanity events and she encouraged others to become involved. The benefits, she said, extend not only to recipients but RTC staff who help others.

"This is something that we don't do for ourselves, but for other people," said Edinger. "There's an inner satisfaction that only public service can provide. A lot of people are coming out and helping us out. Being at RTC, they want to get their hands dirty and be outside and help their community."

Habitat for Humanity Marketing Manager Tim Biondo, a 1975 graduate of Navy boot camp, said the group has built 225 homes impacting nearly 1,000 people in Lake County. The very first home, located in North Chicago and dedicated on Jan. 12, 1991, was built with support from United State Naval Construction Battalions.

More than 300,000 volunteer hours have been donated to the organization by Navy personnel from Naval Station Great Lakes.

"From our earliest days in 1989, the U.S. Navy served Lake County needs for affordable houses in addition to their many hours volunteering at the local ReStore in Gurnee," said Julie Donovan, executive director for Habitat for Humanity Lake County.

Habitat for Humanity ReStores are home improvement stores and donation centers that sell new and gently used furniture, appliances, home accessories, building materials and more to the public at a fraction of the retail price.

"The Seabees were there to build our first house and Navy hands supported almost every house we built since," said Donovan. "We appreciate their leadership and service in our community."

Boot camp is approximately eight weeks and all enlistees into the U.S. Navy begin their careers at the command. Training includes physical fitness, seamanship, firearms, firefighting and shipboard damage control along with lessons in Navy heritage and core values, teamwork and discipline. About 38,000 to 40,000 recruits graduate annually from RTC and begin their Navy careers.

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