NORFOLK, VA. (NNS) -- Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?” and this rings true for Sailor and civilian alike. What can Sailors on the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) do for others and contribute to the community? As luck would have it, volunteer opportunities are abundant on this carrier, and Sailors need only ask.
Senior Chief Religious Programs Specialist Hector Feliciano, the Command Religious Ministries Department (CRMD) leading chief petty officer on Harry S. Truman, encourages all Sailors to take a more civic interest in their community for the benefit of others and themselves.
“When it comes to volunteering it’s really a win-win for Sailors and the organization,” said Feliciano. “It also gives Sailors something positive and productive to do.”
Organizations such as the Norfolk Botanical Garden and the Norfolk Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) welcome Navy volunteers. Harry S. Truman will be sending 20 Sailors to the Norfolk Botanical Garden Feb. 12 to assist with ground work, retail transactions and even greeting guests. Shortly after, Feb. 26, Sailors will spend time with the SPCA helping their furry friends by socializing and preparing the animals for a family home.
On the career side, volunteer work can give a motivated Sailor many advantages come evaluation season.
“Volunteer work is a very impressive bullet to have on a Sailor’s evaluation,” said Feliciano, a recipient of the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal. “It shows a multitude of characteristics: teamwork, leadership, compassion and a good work ethic.”
Aside from a notable evaluation, other rewards await the Sailor committed to their civil duty. Through dedicated service and unwavering commitment, a Sailor can be recognized throughout the Navy.
“When a Sailor accumulates enough volunteer hours, there’s always a potential for awards and recognition,” imparted Chief Religious Programs Specialist Erin Burmeister. “There are so many incentives, and I encourage all Sailors to ask their chain of command for opportunities.”
The leadership of the CRMD department adamantly maintains that volunteering will contribute to a Sailor being balanced and driven in their professional lives.
“I strongly believe that volunteer work helps with a positive outlook on their work life,” Burmeister said with conviction. “Sailors get the chance to get off the ship and work with friends.”
Additionally, volunteering can open up avenues or initiate ideas for Sailors.
“In the past, Truman has had Sailors volunteer at animal shelters,” explained Feliciano. “Now, because of that experience the Sailors now might be more inclined to rescue a pet instead of going to breeder. Volunteering gives Sailors a chance to experience and be part of something that might be entirely new to them.”
On Jan. 24, CRMD organized a volunteer event at the Marion Manor Assisted Living Home for 19 Sailors. They volunteered to devote their day to hosting an ice cream social and playing bingo with senior citizens, many of whom are veterans.
“When Sailors go to retirement homes and spend time with the veterans, it’s like giving something back to those who served before us,” said Feliciano. “Listening to sea stories or serving ice cream is sometimes all someone needs to do to make a difference in someone’s life.”
Culinary Specialist 1st Class Victor Hillman, another recipient of the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal on the Harry S. Truman, sees volunteering as another way to improve himself and show gratitude to those around him.
“You’re giving part of yourself when you volunteer,” said Hillman. “It not only helps you, but [it also helps] so many people around you that you don’t even see. It also helps build friendships and networking skills for Sailors, which is so important.”
To make a difference, Harry S. Truman Sailors need only to make their way down to the ship’s library and sign up.
Harry S. Truman is currently moored at Naval Station Norfolk conducting targeted maintenance and training, and remains operationally ready. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/USSTruman or www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.