NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support employees celebrate diversity at multicultural festival

Story Number: NNS181001-07Release Date: 10/1/2018 10:59:00 AM
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By Jennifer Blair, NAVSUP WSS Public Affairs/Corporate Communications

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (NNS) -- Employees from the NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support Mechanicsburg site joined in the celebration at the annual Multicultural Day Festival held recently at Naval Support Activity Mechanicsburg.

The festival is held annually to highlight the diverse heritage of employees and to encourage understanding and unity among different cultures.

In his opening remarks, Naval Support Activity Mechanicsburg Commanding Officer Capt. Kyle Bryan spoke about how the varied cultural background of our nation is one of America’s strengths.

“To be American is to be multi-cultural, and this brings some very good concepts to the surface,” said Bryan.  “It brings tolerance and diversity to the forefront.  To be American you have to tolerate the fact that not everyone is going to look like you, think like you, or share your values.  And when you accept the fact that this okay, you realize the value that lies in diversity – you are open to new ideas, new values, and new ways of thinking.  And that is the true underlying strength of America.”

The main attraction of this year’s event was the cultural cook-off, where several departments from commands at NSA Mechanicsburg came together to offer samplings of cuisine from different cultures.  The groups were serving dishes representing the Pennsylvania Dutch, Filipino, Western European, South American and southern American state cultures. 

“For many of us, food is our first introduction to another culture,” said NAVSUP WSS Vice Commander, Lynn Kohl, who introduced the cook-off. “Each new dish we try has a special place in the culture it comes from and can teach us about the customs, ingredients and cooking methods of that culture.”

The event also featured entertainment and food trucks representing different cultures and a presentation on the NAVSUP WSS Foreign Military Sales department. 

“What better day to talk about Foreign Military Sales than Multicultural Day,” said Beth Finnegan, an employee from NAVSUP WSS FMS.

Finnegan spoke about how the NAVSUP WSS FMS department employs 35 security assistant foreign representatives from 19 countries in addition to its employees from the United States. “Working in Foreign Military Sales gives us an amazing door to different cultures and different ways of life on a daily basis,” she said. 

The Multicultural Day Festival concluded with a trophy presentation to the winners of the cook-off. Employees from the NAVSUP WSS Nuclear Reactors Supply Chain Management Directorate won for their Latin American cuisine.  The group served dishes that highlighted some traditional Latin American ingredients including corn, rice, beans and tomatoes.  This is the third year in a row the Nuclear Reactors Supply Chain Management team won the contest.

A field activity of the Naval Supply Systems Command, NAVSUP WSS is the U.S. Navy’s supply chain manager providing worldwide support to the aviation, surface ship, and submarine communities. NAVSUP WSS provides Navy, Marine Corps, joint and allied forces with products and services that deliver combat capability through logistics. There are more than 2,000 civilian and military personnel employed at its two Pennsylvania sites, and one site in Norfolk, Va.

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