Navy Week Connects with Chicago Boys and Girls Clubs

Story Number: NNS080814-09Release Date: 8/14/2008 11:52:00 AM
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By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Hugh C. Laughlin, Navy Office of Community Outreach Public Affairs

CHICAGO (NNS) -- Commander, Naval Air Systems Command and Sailors from the USS Chicago (SSN 721) hit it off with children from four Boys and Girls Clubs of America August 12.

Vice Adm. David J. Venlet, this year's Chicago Navy Week spokesman, and three Sailors from the the city's namesake nuclear-powered submarine arrived to participate in the 2008 Chicago Navy Week events taking place throughout the city.

USS Chicago's Chief Yeoman (SS) Travis Stokes related his own experiences growing up with the Boys and Girls Club in his hometown.

"I remember coming to play foosball, basketball and bumper pool growing up," said Stokes. "Having the club helped me to make smart choices about staying in school and staying drug-free."

The four Boys and Girls Clubs the USS Chicago Sailors visited serve 11,000 children in grade school through high school.

Machinist's Mate 1st Class (SS) Matthew Wydra and Machinist's Mate 2nd Class (SS) William Wilcoxon took time to play kickball with the children from the Talcott Club.

"What a great program the club is giving to the community," said Wydra. "Even though school hasn't started for Chicago, the children have a safe place to go and be inspired."

Wydra, a native of Chicago, returned from the ship's homeport in Pearl Harbor to participate in the Navy Week's community services events.

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