USS Bataan Sailors Volunteer to Build Homes for Habitat for Humanity
Fourteen Sailors from the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) volunteered to help build homes with Beaches Habitat for Humanity in Jacksonville, Fla. Nov. 7.
Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit housing organization that has served 2.5 million people worldwide and helped build more than 500,000 homes.
“It feels good helping people,” said Religious Programs Specialist 3rd Class Gardiel Martinez, a Bataan volunteer. “Volunteer work is something I have been doing since I was young. It’s not only helping yourself become a better person but it is also helping others in whatever situation they are in.”
Bataan is in port at Naval Station Mayport to participate in the Week of Valor hosted by the city of Jacksonville. The ship’s flight deck will be the location for the upcoming Navy-Marine Corps Classic basketball game between the University of Florida Gators and the Georgetown University Hoyas, Nov. 9.
“Jacksonville is doing a lot for us, so it is nice to be able to give back to the community,” said Bataan volunteer Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 3rd Class Katie Walley.
Applicants for the Habitat for Humanity program are expected to invest their own labor into building their Habitat house and the houses of others. Volunteers help keep the cost of the homes low. The Bataan Sailors seemed more than willing to give of their time and labor to help with this program, especially when they have a chance to talk to the participants.
“This program would really help my family get on our feet, give us a place to live, and a place to call home,” said Patricia Campbell, a Habitat for Humanity applicant. “I think it is great that Sailors are willing to help out.”
Sailors helped build two duplex homes, two single family homes, and rehabilitate a four-unit apartment during this community relations project. Their help was particularly appreciated by the Habitat staff.
“We [were] excited to have everyone here from Bataan,” said Sarah Rutkowski, volunteer coordinator for Beaches Habitat for Humanity. “Every time we have a group from the Navy come in, we always get a lot of work done. We’ve always found that they are a very enthusiastic group of volunteers, so we are very happy to have the help of Sailors.”
Naval Today Staff,November 9, 2012; Image: US Navy