USS Nimitz Leaders Serve Community

During phase one of Chief Petty Officer (CPO) 365, 17 chief and first class petty officers from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) volunteered to clean the senior citizen center in downtown Everett, Wash., Jan. 28.

The Carl Gipson Senior Center of Everett is a 28,000 square foot, modernized facility for the senior citizens of Everett. The center offers an abundance of activities to the seniors throughout the week including bingo, crafts and even virtual bowling.

With only four paid staff, the center relies on about 200 volunteers to host programs and activities. The Gipson center can accommodate hundreds of senior citizens daily and with the minimal staff, maintaining the cleanliness of the facility can require a little help.

Sailors wiped, scrubbed and disinfected the facility’s upholstery, supply rooms, billiard room, bingo hall, kitchen and coffee bars for four hours.

“This is our second visit to the center,” said Chief Logistics Specialist Ignatius Okeiyimor, Nimitz’ Chief Mess community service coordinator. “We are trying to instill a culture of giving back.”

“It’s always nice to get a good name for the Navy out there,” said Information Systems Technician 1st Class Jeffrey Williams. “What are a few hours of work to us when it means so much to them?”

January 2013 marks the master chief petty officer of the Navy’s official push and endorsement of CPO 365, which is designed to prepare the future chiefs of the Navy with the leadership tools, mentorship and camaraderie needed to lead their fellow Sailors. Community service projects like this one are included in the program for this reason.

“This is our first visit during the new CPO 365 program,” said Okeiyimor. “This is phase one of the program where we try to integrate the first class petty officers with the chiefs leading up to the training phase.”

Deb Loughrey-Johnson, Gipson center director since 2009, explained that without the help of volunteers, like those from Nimitz, they would have a hard time operating the facility. As the liaison between the Sailors and the Gipson center, Loughrey-Johnson was coordinated the efforts of the volunteers, divided them into teams and provided the cleaning supplies.

With more projects scheduled for later this year, the chiefs and first class petty officers of Nimitz will build a lasting connection with each other, as well as the community around them.

Naval Today Staff, January 31, 2013