ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- The aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) was recognized for the second year in a row as Navy Region Mid-Atlantic’s nominee for the USS Bainbridge (CGN 25) Award for Overall Excellence in Community Service.
Ford won all five individual categories for large sea command in the 2019 Navy Community Service Awards program, in the categories of Personal Excellence Partnership Flagship, Project Good Neighbor Flagship, Environmental Stewardship Flagship, Campaign Drug Free and Health, and Safety and Fitness Flagship.
Each of the categories won by Ford’s community relations committee was covered by one of the many regularly occurring community outreach programs Ford Sailors participated in, to include working with children in schools, beach clean-ups, working with the Salvation Army and Meals on Wheels.
Cmdr. David Kim, a Ford chaplain and the ship’s community outreach manager, explained how the Ford’s program is set up for Sailors to succeed.
“We established a committee that reaches out to all the different departments and find people who are passionate about something, and we help equip them with what they need to do a good job and represent the ship,” said Kim. “It makes me incredibly proud of our crew because at the end of the day, it’s the Sailors who do the work.”
More than 1,300 Ford Sailors performed 5,083 hours of community service to 181,000 people in the Hampton Roads area spanning from June 2018 through June 2019.
Personnel Specialist 1st Class Ruben Perez, from Miami, helps run the community relations committee and said that these accolades are a direct reflection of the Sailors’ dedication.
“A lot of these Sailors put a lot of effort into getting these volunteer events going and representing Gerald R. Ford. They are consistently leading these events flawlessly and we always receive feedback thanking us for our support,” said Perez.
“They are motivated to volunteer and excited to show up. They’re doing it because they honestly love to volunteer and give their time back to someone else.”
Ford’s success will now be put to the test, going up against the very best programs from around the fleet, in the hopes of being recognized as the Navy’s overall best program.
Kim said without the Sailors’ participation and drive, none of this success would be possible.
“If you equip Sailors and empower them to do what they love doing, you’re going to get a great result,” said Kim.
Gerald R. Ford is a first-in-class aircraft carrier and the first new aircraft carrier designed in more than 40 years. Ford is currently underway conducting sea trials in the Atlantic Ocean.
For more news from USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn78/.