Constitution Sailors, NBA Players Volunteer at Homeless Veterans Center

Story Number: NNS141113-09Release Date: 11/13/2014 9:04:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Victoria Kinney, USS Constitution, Public Affairs

BOSTON (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to USS Constitution joined representatives from the Boston Celtics, U.S. Coast Guard and TD Bank for a collaborative pre-Veterans Day volunteer event Nov. 10 at the New England Center for Homeless Veterans (NECHV).

The event, sponsored by the NBA and USO, was held as part of the NBA Cares program Hoops for Troops. This year, the program is focusing on "Commitment to Service," in which NBA teams and players participate with military members in community service events around the country.

During the daylong event, volunteers including current Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green and former Celtics forward Leon Powe, helped to move furniture, paint rooms, organize donated clothing and serve hot meals to the veterans residing at NECHV.

"I had a good time working with members of the Coast Guard and the Navy today," said Green. "It's an amazing feeling to be here helping our veterans. To see the smiles on their faces and to give back - it's a wonderful feeling to be a part of this."

NECHV is one of the nation's largest private resource providers to homeless veterans of every era who face challenges and are at-risk of homelessness. NECHV offers an array of services that enable success, reintegration, meaningful employment and independent living, with an ultimate goal of ending homelessness for all veterans in the New England area.

NECHV is preparing to undergo a 2-year renovation of their 100-year-old building. Due to the upcoming construction plans that call for reconfiguration of many of the center's spaces, volunteer-driven assistance in moving and reorganizing items, including hundreds of donated goods, is crucial to continue accommodating veterans' needs during the transitional period.

"We are successful in keeping the veterans stocked with things they need, such as toothpaste, soap, razors, clean clothes, whatever it is they need," said Bob Hanafin, NECHV director of operations. "Our 'store' is completely fueled by donations. You won't see a cash register in our store because all of it is free to the residents. Not a single penny comes from our budget."

Old Ironsides' crew has a long-standing history of volunteer work with NECHV. Once a month, a group of Sailors visit the center to help sort donations, hand out mail, organize spaces, serve free meals and interact with veterans.

"I always feel good volunteering with the (NECHV) residents," said Logistics Specialist Seaman Justin Kiel, a Constitution crew member. "Especially since it's right before Veterans Day."

USS Constitution, the world's oldest commissioned warship afloat, actively defended sea lanes against global threats from 1797 to 1855. Now a featured destination on Boston's Freedom Trail, Constitution and her crew of U.S. Navy Sailors offer community outreach and education about the ship's history and the importance of naval seapower to more than 500,000 visitors each year.

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Sailors assigned to USS Constitution, alongside Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green, help serve dinner to veterans during
141110-N-SU274-067 BOSTON (Nov. 10, 2014) Sailors assigned to USS Constitution, alongside Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green, help serve dinner to veterans during a collaborative pre-Veteran's Day volunteer event with the NBA at the New England Center for Homeless Veterans. Current and retired Celtics basketball players joined civilian and military volunteers from the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard to help paint rooms, organize donated clothing and serve hot meals for homeless veterans. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Peter Melkus/Released)
November 13, 2014
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