Story Number: NNS140815-29Release Date: 8/15/2014 9:13:00 PM
By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Leeanna Shipps, USS Abraham Lincoln Media Department
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- Nearly 1,700 Sailors assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) volunteered at more than 25 locations over a 70-mile area in the Hampton Roads region during an all-day community relations (COMREL) event, Aug. 15.
This marks the third COMREL Lincoln has coordinated throughout the Hampton Roads region since the ship arrived to Newport News Shipbuilding in February 2013. Lincoln Sailors volunteered more than 4,000 hours during this event.
Capt. Ronald Ravelo, Lincoln's commanding officer, visited various COMREL locations alongside Command Master Chief Gregg Webber, to thank the crew for their volunteerism.
"The ability for us to be out here and help beautify the community and to contribute in such a positive manner to the region is obviously a big deal," Ravelo said. "I thank all the Sailors who took the time to come out."
The all-day event included volunteers from 18 departments divided throughout the region.
One of the assistant coordinators for weapons department's COMREL at Lafayette Park in Norfolk, was Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class Courtney Dorsey.
"It was awesome to be a part of this experience," Dorsey said. "I am grateful I had the opportunity to come out and volunteer alongside my shipmates during this event."
More than 120 Sailors assigned to Lincoln's aviation intermediate maintenance department (AIMD) volunteered at Mount Trashmore Park, a world-renowned park encompassing 165 acres, comprised of two man-made mountains, two lakes, two playgrounds, a skate park, a vert ramp, and multi-use paths.
"It's an honor and a privilege to be in such a place where children have a secure environment to play and learn things in life," said Master Chief Avionics Maintenance Technician Jean Previllon, AIMD leading chief petty officer. "It is also an opportunity for Sailors to learn and realize what the enlistment oath really means. To learn that freedom is not free."
Engineering department's Damage Controlman 3rd Class Sarah Sepulveda volunteered at the Norfolk Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a private no-kill humane society dedicated to fostering the human-animal bond to ensure that every adoptable companion animal finds a home.
"I love helping animals. It's just one way I can give back to the community," Sepulveda said.
Quarter Master Seaman Apprentice Quincee Miller, currently assigned to training department, volunteered at the Mariners' Museum. She helped clear scrap metal, organize debris, and fill three and a half construction dumpsters with recyclable material.
"COMRELs are great because the community can depend on us to be there if they need help," said Miller.
Air department came out in force with over 190 Sailors covering three different locations to include Mount Trashmore Park, Newport News Park, and the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank.
Jamison Ditto, Newport News Park superintendent, expressed his gratitude for having such a large group of volunteers.
"It's a lot of money saved because we don't have the staff we need for these projects," Ditto said.
Reactor department cleaned up a mile of beach at Fort Monroe under the supervision of Ranger Aaron Firth of the National Park Service.
"We cannot keep parks like this clean and maintained without the time Lincoln Sailors are volunteering today," Firth said.
At the end of the day, Lincoln Sailors were happy to help in any way they could.
"It was impressive coming up here seeing all the Sailors happy to be here," Webber said. "They are actually having a good time. They are forming stronger bonds, which translates into the workforce. This is a great way to give back to the community and environment."
Lincoln is currently undergoing Refueling Complex Overhaul (RCOH) at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries.
Lincoln is the fifth ship of the Nimitz class to undergo a RCOH, a major life-cycle milestone. Once RCOH is complete, Lincoln will be one of the most modern and technologically advanced Nimitz-class carriers.
For more news from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn72/.