ROTA, Spain (NNS) -- The service members of Rota's Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Unit (AIMU) have volunteered nearly 3,100 hours this year, showing that the members of any command, large or small, can do their jobs and still volunteer their time without taking away from the mission.
AIMU Sailors have participated - on their own time - in several voluteer efforts, including the David Glasgow Farragut (DGF) High School football team and the Angel Tree program.
"What impresses me is that it's not all command organized," said Lt. Rex Burkett, officer in charge of AIMU Rota. "These guys are going out there on their own. For example, right now one of the coaches from the DGF High School football team is from here, Senior Chief (Heath) Hughes. The three guys who run the chains on the side of the football field are all first class petty officers from AIMU. Those guys go out there, and it's completely volunteer work. None of those guys get paid."
One thing that Burkett instills in his command is that volunteering one's time is something that will help other people.
"We had an [aviation support equipment technician] who was dealing with the Angel Tree program last year," he said. "He got really involved and found it very rewarding. The goodwill that may arise for years to come is untouchable. You can't measure that. It's incredible."
The Angel Tree program buys and distributes clothing, shoes and other items to needy children from surrounding areas for Christmas.
"I wanted to do something special for the kids," said volunteer Aviation Support Equipment Technician 2nd Class Geovanni Flores, floor supervisor, 900-division. "I loved it. It was nice dedicating all that time, knowing that I was giving something back to the community."
Burkett said most commands are willing to give the time off necessary to take part in the volunteer effort.
"Senior Chief Hughes' son was on the high school football team and he wanted to coach and be a part of that," he said. "So he started doing that, and basically what we're doing is allowing him to take off a little bit early in the afternoons so he can go out and meet the high school practice times."
"On his side," Burkett continued, "he may have to come in a little bit early so he can get his paperwork done, but as long as he's getting the job done, we really have no complaint."
Volunteering one's time, if coordinated appropriately, should not have any adverse affects on the mission at all, according to Flores.
"As a matter of fact, it gives you a nice little agenda for the day," he said. "I highly recommend everybody do some type of volunteer work during the off hours."
For related news, visit the Naval Station Rota, Spain, Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/rota.