COPENHAGEN, Denmark (NNS) -- On a cold, snowy Monday morning, 17 Sailors from the guided-missile destroyer USS Gravely (DDG 107) participated in two community relation (COMREL) projects in Copenhagen, Denmark Jan. 14.
Gravely crewmembers divided up into two groups with eleven volunteering at the Apostel Food Bank and 6 at a youth center in the Vesterbro Library both located in the Copenhagen area.
Sailors at the Apostel Food Bank organized donated food from area supermarkets, distributed it and took time to visit with those in need who came by to pick up food.
“I helped unload about 50 lbs. of food and served about 40 people, and built a fire to keep them warm as they waited,” said Logistic’s Specialist 3rd Class Keith Turman, COMREL volunteer. “To know that you made somebody’s day in need of assistance is just humbling. There is nothing better than seeing a smile on their faces.”
Volunteers for the youth center painted various areas meeting the specific needs the establishment needed to support the staff and children in the area.
“We painted over wall art to give them a fresh canvas for the children to create new designs, and painted their arcade room black for pinball machines and video games,” said Hull Maintenance Technician 1st Class Kyle Gregory, COMREL volunteer. “It’s truly an amazing library and the learning programs there for the youth through 20 years old is impressive.”
For Gravely Sailors there was many different reasons why they chose their liberty time to give back to a community away from home.
“Volunteering at the youth center helped me cope with being away from my own children for such a long period of time,” said Gregory. “As a Sailor I believe we should leave a port visit in better shape than when we arrived. Six hours of your time helping children, families and communities around the world could last a life time for them.”
Not only does COMREL’s help communities all over the world but also keeps service members mission ready.
“Volunteering on deployment does a phenomenal job at building camaraderie, teamwork and trust throughout the ship,” said Lt. Michael Taulbee, chaplain aboard the USS Gravely. “COMREL’s are a win for both the ship and host country.”
Gravely is underway on a regularly-scheduled deployment to conduct maritime operations as the flagship of Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 in the U.S 6th Fleet area of operation.
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