USS Constitution Sailors Visits Baystate Medical Center in Springfield


USS Constitution Sailors gave Navy ballcaps to children during a Caps for Kids visit at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass. Sept. 27.

Interior Communications Electrician 1st Class (SW) John Campbell, Aviation Electrician’s Mate 2nd Class (AW) Anthony Barnardo and Seaman Deidre Foster participated in the event as part of New England Navy Week, Sept. 25-Oct. 2.

“We all need support from time to time, and it was touching to support kids battling various illnesses,” said Foster. “The kids really appreciated us visiting, and in return we appreciated their strength.”

The Navy’s Caps for Kids program is aimed toward children nationwide who are diagnosed and undergoing treatment for cancer, or receiving chemotherapy to treat other life-threatening illnesses. The program provides these children with a command ballcap in hopes of lifting children’s spirits while they are required to stay in the hospital for extended periods of time.

“I’ll never forget this Caps for Kids event,” said Campbell. “Giving back to the community on a more personal level reminds me of the pride I have serving in the Navy.”

Rear Adm. Walter E. Carter Jr., commander of Joint Enabling Capabilities Command, and Sailors from USS Enterprise (CVN 65) and Navy Recruiting District Springfield also took part in the event. Combined, Sailors gave more than 30 ballcaps.

The event was phenomenal,” said Carter. “With community programs like Caps for Kids, we have a chance to make a difference through the smiles on the children’s faces. It has been rewarding, as is the chance to meet with Sailors from USS Constitution and USS Enterprise.

Constitution Sailors will also participate in a Caps for Kids visit at Shriners Hospitals for Children in Springfield, Sept. 30.

New England Navy Week is Constitution’s fifth Navy Week this year. The primary purpose of Navy Week is to increase Navy awareness by presenting the Navy to Americans who live in cities that normally do not have a significant naval presence. New England Navy Week will showcase the mission, capabilities and achievements of the U.S. Navy and provide residents the opportunity to meet Sailors firsthand.

Constitution is located in the Charlestown Navy Yard of Boston Harbor and is the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat. The ship defended the sea lanes against threat from 1797 to 1855, much like the mission of today’s Navy. Constitution’s mission today is to offer community outreach and education about the ship’s history, as she welcomes more than 500,000 visitors per year.

Source: navy, September 29, 2011