ROTA, Spain (NNS) -- Naval Station Rota's Chapel; Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) and First Class Petty Officer Association (FCPOA) are working together to make sure single service members in Rota have the opportunity to get a full, home-cooked meal for Thanksgiving.
The Adopt-a-Service Member program allows families and single service members to each fill out a form that will match them up for the holiday, allowing everyone to enjoy an at-home atmosphere and a good, home-cooked meal on Thanksgiving. The program is open to all service members in Rota during Thanksgiving, to include any from transient ships, air crews, and all services.
"We're taking care of our own," said Religious Program Specialist 1st Class (SW) William Green, the point of contact for Adopt-a-Service Member. "We're all away from home, and we've got a lot of service members here who don't have families [nearby]. They want to have a nice, home-cooked meal like those of us who do have family here, and what better way to do that than to open up our homes for them?"
Adopt-a-Service Member is a command-driven program, started all the way at the top with the commanding officer, according to Green.
"I was really concerned that we might have single service members just sitting in the barracks with a Hot Pocket," said Naval Station Rota Command Master Chief CMDCM (SS) Michael Hurley. "Is it possible that families might want to open up their homes to have some service members over? I think there are, and I know there are service members who would like to get a full Thanksgiving dinner. So it's just a matter of coordinating and matching it up," Hurley said.
There are forms available for families and single service members to fill out at the Chapel, the Gateway Inn counter, at the Air Terminal and at Expeditions.
"If you can't find a form, by all means give me a call and I'll get you a form," Green said.
Green noted the importance of the comments section, mentioning the hazards that could happen without comments.
"When we go to match people up, we don't want to match someone who's allergic to cats to a family that has cats," Green said. "So we try to accommodate the service members and the families. If they have no preferences, put, 'no preference,'" he said.
One "preference" people might not think about is the ability to ask for partnership with other single service members when paired up with a family.
"If we have a person who isn't comfortable going to someone's house alone, by all means, put that in the comment section," Green said. "If they feel more comfortable going with a friend who is also in the program, I'll make sure that friend is paired up with them.
"Also, if a family wants to have two, three, four or five people at their house, no problem - put that in the comments section," Green said. "Fifteen people? That's fine. I'll look at my list and see what I can do."
One important note, according to Green, is that transportation is entirely up to the paired families and service members. The Adopt-a-Service Member program is just the liaison between the two.
The deadline for participation in this program is Nov. 21, but the earlier the sheets are filled out, the better, according to Green.
"I would really like it if everybody could get these things in now, so people can talk about what their plan is to have that single service member over at their house," he said.
"It's a good deal for everybody," Green said. "We're really, really pushing it."
"We're going to do the same for Christmas and really for any other holiday where we get together as families," Hurley said. "There's always single service members that we need to think about."
For related news, visit the Naval Station Rota, Spain, Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/rota/.