Skip to comments.Stennis Sailors Help Community, Remove Refrigerators, Lift Spirits
Posted on 10/18/2005 5:03:05 PM PDT by SandRat
ABOARD USS JOHN C. STENNIS (NNS) -- Sailors from USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), assisted a grateful community in Pearlington, Miss., in October by removing old refrigerators from the area, which had become a health hazard after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast coastline.
Stennis, homeported in Bremerton, Wash., sent 50 volunteers to the hurricane-ravaged area of southern Mississippi. The aircraft carrier is named for Senator John C. Stennis of Miss., and considers the state its adopted home.
"These smaller communities receive little attention after [Hurricane] Katrina," said Rick Hines, a FEMA volunteer from the West Indianapolis, Ind., fire department, "so they appreciate any help they can get."
One of the growing problems is old refrigerators full of rotting food. Without power and with many residents abandoning their homes, food and perishables in the fridges became rancid sludge in the oppressive Gulf Coast heat. Without a proper way of disposing of these boxy time bombs, the health of the recovering community was in danger.
Upon arrival in the devastated community, locals looked on in curiosity at the approaching Naval volunteers in their Navy t-shirts and camouflage pants. After realizing what the purpose of the crew was, many residents began seeking out the groups of "fridge finders" by pointing them out for the crews and even letting them into residences to remove those that the residents couldnt get out.
"Its amazing the friendliness the community has shown us," said Hull Technician Fireman Roman Linder of Stennis repair division. "Theyve even started handing out drinks to the guys, even though they have little themselves."
Despite the support of the community, the effort was still a challenging task. "The smell could knock an elephant over," said Quartermaster Seaman Alyssa Delgadillo of Stennis' navigation department. "Its something you never get used to."
Sailors also stopped for other things besides foul-smelling fridges to help the community. After briefly stopping by a cemetery, one group realized several tombstones had been knocked over by Katrina. The next 20 minutes were spent righting the fallen headstones.
Another group passed by a house with a fallen U.S. flag in the driveway, ripped from its post. Unwilling to leave the stars and stripes lying on the ground, the team improvised and secured the flag and post to a nearby tree.
"I saw it lying there and couldnt just leave it," said Seaman Chase Roberts. "Its not a perfect job, but at least its off the ground."
The Stennis volunteers loaded the refrigerators onto a flatbed, where they were hauled off and unloaded at a site for FEMA to pick up later for proper disposal.
Upon completing a labor-intensive day of work, the Sailors celebrated with a photo opportunity and dinner on the closed bridge to Louisiana. "You guys did an outstanding job," said Master Chief Master-at-Arms Bill Shaibly, enlisted volunteer supervisor. "The effort you put in here showed the attitude and heart of Stennis."
Navy helps in Mississippi
Thaks for this info SandRat. God Bless all the guys from the Stennis.
I had the great honor and privilege as an Air Force puke to land and take off in a C4 from this magnificent ship in early 2000 while in the Persian Gulf.
That one night's stay ensured a lifelong respect for the Navy and the hardworking sailors behind the scenes that support the ship's mission.
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