USS Barry Sailors Continue GWF Tradition of Goodwill While in Malta

Story Number: NNS090108-07Release Date: 1/8/2009 1:36:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class(SW/AW) Rosa Larson, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Africa Public Affairs

VALETTA, Malta (NNS) -- USS Barry (DDG 52) Sailors volunteered to clean up a local refugee home in Malta Jan. 5 during the ship's port visit commemorating the 100th anniversary of the "Great White Fleet."

The Dar il-Qawsalla refugee home located in Birkirkara, Malta, houses families of migrants seeking asylum in Malta, including single mothers, pregnant women and families with small children, and can house up to 16 families or 50 residents.

"Most of the asylum-seekers are from Somalia," said Hertha Trapani, care coordinator for the facility. "They come by boat, and they are required by law to be kept in detention while they are waiting for humanitarian status."

The house currently cares for 35 residents who stay for up to one year while waiting for their request for asylum to be approved. The home also provides employment, education, and housing referral services for residents.

"The residents are required to help with the maintenance of the house, but it's very difficult," said Trapani. "Most of the residents are pregnant or have small children, so it's very difficult to keep up a cleaning regimen."

Sailors volunteered to spend the day cleaning windows and moving furniture to help improve the quality of life for residents.

"We really love helping out and being of some value to the host nation," said Electronics Technician 2nd Class (SW/AW) D'Angelo Morman. "We'll do anything we can do to help people in need and to assist in a worthy cause."

"We haven't had [Navy volunteers] yet," said Trapani. "I'm very grateful they came. We needed a lot of things and we need people to help us. Any time someone comes, it helps."

Dar il-Qawsalla is one of three refugee homes in the area for families. It houses approximately 100 people seeking humanitarian status annually.

Barry Sailors participated in five community relations projects during their four-day visit to the country. Barry will also host a reception to mark the 100th anniversary of the "Great White Fleet," a historic U.S. Navy goodwill voyage around the world that included a stop in Malta in 1909.

Barry is an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer and is homeported in Norfolk. Barry is on a regularly scheduled six-month deployment in the U.S. 6th Fleet Area of Responsibility.

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