Ronald Reagan Sailors Make Room for Families Displaced by Fire


Story Number: NNS071024-15Release Date: 10/24/2007 5:04:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cara Maib, USS Ronald Reagan Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Sailors have given up their lodging in the barracks enlisted quarters on Naval Station North Island to support families who are evacuating their homes due to the fire storm raging across southern California.

"We've got about 25 families that we've moved in, and we're getting the remaining Ronald Reagan Sailors back on the ship in order to move in more families," said Chief Storekeeper (AW/SW) Jason Sweany, an on-duty chief who is helping with the process. "There's no waiting list at the moment. As families show up we'll get them into a room."

As soon as it was apparent that Ronald Reagan Sailors and their families were facing mandatory evacuation from their homes, Ronald Reagan Sailors began moving back onto the ship.

"I'm glad to move out of my room for the sake of a family in need," said Interior Communications Electrician 3rd Class Alexis Franco, who was packed and ready to go within hours of hearing what was needed.

Ronald Reagan has more than 130 families directly affected by the fire, many of whom expressed gratitude for the sacrifice their shipmates made for them.

"It's nice to have a plan to fall back on," said Air Traffic Controller 3rd Class Jenny Gutierrez, a Ronald Reagan Sailor from Operations Department who is bringing her husband and 2-year-old daughter with her. "We're [Ronald Reagan is] always helping other people, now it's time to help each other."

For Gutierrez, the initial plan on whether to evacuate her home was just to take the "wait and see" approach. After visiting Naval Medical Center San Diego with her daughter and seeing the huge crowds in the emergency room with smoke-related respiratory ailments, she chose to be proactive instead.

"If it were just me and my husband, we might still fare pretty well, but we've got a little one to worry about, so we've got to be ten steps ahead of the game," she said.

Gutierrez and her husband checked into the barracks later that night.

"It's just awesome how all of the departments on Ronald Reagan have stepped up to take care of the community," said Capt. Terry B. Kraft, Ronald Reagan's commanding officer. "We've had Sailors trained by the Red Cross to help man the local shelters, we've already opened up our barracks to any families that need it, we've had two dozen or so move in already, and we expect more to come."

Kraft added that one of the most important steps Ronald Reagan has taken is setting up the Crisis Action Team on board the ship.

"It's a one-stop number where people can call to get all the information they need on what their options are," said Kraft. "We're going to keep that manned up until the end, around the clock."

Ronald Reagan Sailors and families can reach the Ronald Reagan Crisis Action Team 24 hours a day at 619-545-0181.

Ronald Reagan is currently undergoing a planned incremental availability in her homeport of San Diego following a three-month surge deployment in support of operations in the Western Pacific.

For more news from USS Ronald Reagan, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn76/.

 
RELATED PHOTOS
Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Amanda Beaver, of St. Louis, moves her belongings from her barracks room at Naval Station North Island to USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) to give evacuees from San Diego County a place to stay.
071023-N-4776G-161 SAN DIEGO (Oct. 23, 2007) - Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Amanda Beaver, of St. Louis, moves her belongings from her barracks room at Naval Station North Island to USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) to give evacuees from San Diego County a place to stay. Thousands of military families have been displaced by the wildfires in San Diego County that have forced the evacuation of more than 300,000 and destroyed more than 1,000 homes. Dry winds, low humidity and high temperatures are contributing to some of the worst fires in Southern California's history. Naval facilities throughout Navy Region Southwest have opened their gates to provide food, shelter and supplies to the displaced families of service members. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kathleen Gorby (RELEASED)
October 23, 2007
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