USS Carl Vinson’s Sailors Volunteer at Pacific Islander Festival

Sailors assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) volunteered at a soda booth during the Pacific Islander Festival at Mission Bay’s Ski Beach Sept. 23.

The weekend festival promoted charitable and educational projects for the benefit of everyone, but with emphasis on the indigenous people of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia, according to the Pacific Islander Festival Association (PIFA).

“As soon as I found out that volunteers were needed for the festival, I immediately signed up,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) Airman Pia-Kanae Carpenter. “It’s very important to give back to the community and at the same time, it was a lot of fun to experience the culture and heritage of Pacific Islanders.”

Carl Vinson Sailors worked hand-in-hand with members of PIFA to ensure a successful event for the public. The Sailors alleviated a lot of stress and made things go more smoothly throughout the festival, said Martha Palma, a PIFA committee chair and soda booth coordinator.

“They really impressed me today,” Palma said. “The fact that they gave up their Sunday to come and support our cause really means a lot to me and everyone else who is working towards PIFA’s goals.”

The festival’s events included musical art, cultural dancing exhibitions, a worship service, cultural demonstrations and raffles to win plane tickets to Hawaii or an autographed electric guitar signed by musical artist Carlos Santana.

“The overall feeling was just happiness and a very strong sense of pride for their culture,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuels) 3rd Class (AW/SW) Tyrone Overton. “People were genuinely nice and when they found out we were members of the Navy volunteering, they really expressed their appreciation.”

“I definitely took a lot away from this festival,” Overton continued. “Being proud of who you are and where you came from shows through your character in a positive way.”

Naval Today Staff, September 26, 2012