Service Members Serve their Community in Hampton Roads

Story Number: NNS060914-19Release Date: 9/14/2006 2:12:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman John Suits, Fleet Public Affairs Center Atlantic

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Sailors from Combat Direction Systems Activity (CDSA) at Naval Air Station Oceana, Dam Neck Annex, traveled to Saint Mary's Home for Disabled Children Sept. 8. to help repair and clean wheelchairs for the residents.

Saint Mary's provides round-the-clock care for severely disabled children ranging in age from birth to 21 years of age, providing them shelter, medical care and education.

"I started volunteering while I was stationed aboard USS (Arthur W.) Radford (DD 968) doing community service, and a friend told me about Saint Mary's Home for Disabled Children," said Senior Chief Operations Specialist (SW/AW) Karl Little, the senior enlisted advisor of CDSA.

Saint Mary's has a partnership with Volunteer Hampton Roads, a non-profit organization that recruits volunteers to perform various community services. Started in 1957, Volunteer Hampton Roads has welcomed thousands of eager volunteers and put them to work assisting hundreds of organizations throughout the region.

According to Julie Williams, Volunteer Program Manager for Volunteer Hampton Roads, at least 60 percent of their volunteers are active-duty military.

"Service members from all over Hampton Roads volunteer because they have a passion for the cause. Volunteering helps demonstrate their leadership skills and help those less fortunate," said Williams.

Whether it is a group from a particular command or an individual interested in sharing their time and skills with others, volunteers can choose a variety of projects from helping out at a homeless shelter to performing outdoor projects for the environment.

"I come in to give back to those less fortunate than me," said Cryptologic Technician (Collection) 1st Class (SW) Michael Gordon, a cryptologic instructor at CDSA. "Most people take their capabilities for granted."

Little's volunteer experience at Saint Mary's has given him both feelings of accomplishment and understanding of those with disabilities.

"I look for ways to help out," said Little. "It's all about the hugs and smiles from the children and that they are happy. If I can make someone's life better for three seconds, I've done my job."

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