Northwest Chiefs, Selects Help Honor Veterans

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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Jamie Hawkins, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Northwest

RETSIL, Wash. – More than 70 chief petty officers (CPO) and CPO selects assigned to commands within Navy Region Northwest participated in a community service (COMSERV) project at Washington Veterans Home, Aug. 20.

The CPOs and CPO selects, Sailors undergoing Phase II of CPO 365, assisted the grounds crew of the veterans home with brush clean-up of the campus, tree trimming and weed pulling.

“While our obvious goals are cleaning up and helping maintain the grounds, the true heart of today is giving back to those who came before us and letting them know that they aren’t forgotten,” said Senior Chief Sonar Technician (Surface) (SW/AW/IUSS) Charles Eakley, Transient Personnel Unit Puget Sound command senior chief. “I want those who currently serve to speak with those who gave their all and to always remember their sacrifice.”

As they worked to maintain the grounds, the CPOs and CPO selects also visited with veterans living at the home, trading stories and building upon the sense of camaraderie obtained while serving in the military.

“I’m amazed with how many fellow service members came out here today,” said retired Army Sgt. Joe Sanmartino. “You guys have always been good to us, coming by and taking the time to honor us and help keep our home looking, as you Sailors say, ‘ship-shape.’”

Jerry Earl, recreation leader for Washington Veterans Homes said there is a definite increase in the morale of the residents living on the campus when military volunteers come and show their support for the veterans.

“Typically three times a year we have younger veterans come and interact with the older ones and for days after the visit the residents here are much happier,” said Earl. “They got to tell their stories to a generation who doesn’t just sympathize, but actually know exactly how they felt as older veterans tell their stories.

“Its helps them feel more connected not just with the community, but with the organization they gave so much towards,” said Earl.

Chief (select) Hospital Corpsman Oscar Baldevia, assigned to Naval Hospital Bremerton, said being able to honor those who served in the military while at the same time helping the community was an opportunity he could not pass on, and encouraged other service members to do the same.

“It’s really humbling to come here and speak with these people and spend time with them,” said Baldevia. “This sort of thing makes me feel very good about my choice to continue to serve. I would love to do this every day.”

Washington Veterans Home is on a 31-acre campus with a state-of-the-art facility serving more than 240 veterans needing both long-term nursing and assisted-living care.

RETSIL, Wash. (August 20, 2013) Chief Hospital Corpsman Cameron Wink, assigned to Naval Hospital Bremerton, thanks retired Army Sgt. Joe Sanmartino for his service during a community service project (COMSERV) at Washington Veterans Home in Retsil. More than 70 chief petty officers and chief petty officer selects assigned to commands within Navy Region Northwest participated in the COMSERV. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jamie Hawkins/Released)

RETSIL, Wash. (August 20, 2013) Chief Hospital Corpsman Cameron Wink, assigned to Naval Hospital Bremerton, thanks retired Army Sgt. Joe Sanmartino for his service during a community service project (COMSERV) at Washington Veterans Home in Retsil. More than 70 chief petty officers and chief petty officer selects assigned to commands within Navy Region Northwest participated in the COMSERV. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jamie Hawkins/Released)

RETSIL, Wash. (August 20, 2013) Chief Electronics Technician Shawne Staples, assigned to USS Michigan (SSGN 727) (Blue), trims hedges during a community service project (COMSERV) at Washington Veterans Home in Retsil. More than 70 chief petty officers and chief petty officer selects assigned to commands within Navy Region Northwest participated in the COMSERV.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jamie Hawkins/Released)

RETSIL, Wash. (August 20, 2013) Chief Electronics Technician Shawne Staples, assigned to USS Michigan (SSGN 727) (Blue), trims hedges during a community service project (COMSERV) at Washington Veterans Home in Retsil. More than 70 chief petty officers and chief petty officer selects assigned to commands within Navy Region Northwest participated in the COMSERV. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jamie Hawkins/Released)

RETSIL, Wash. (August 20, 2013) Chief Machinist’s Mate Raul Robles, assigned to Naval Intermediate Maintenance Facility Bangor, pushes a wheel barrel filled with trimmings during a community service project (COMSERV) at Washington Veterans Home in Retsil. More than 70 chief petty officers and chief petty officer selects assigned to commands within Navy Region Northwest participated in the COMSERV. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jamie Hawkins/Released)

RETSIL, Wash. (August 20, 2013) Chief Machinist’s Mate Raul Robles, assigned to Naval Intermediate Maintenance Facility Bangor, pushes a wheel barrel filled with trimmings during a community service project (COMSERV) at Washington Veterans Home in Retsil. More than 70 chief petty officers and chief petty officer selects assigned to commands within Navy Region Northwest participated in the COMSERV. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jamie Hawkins/Released)

RETSIL, Wash. (August 20, 2013) More than 70 chief petty officers and chief petty officer selects assigned to commands within Navy Region Northwest participated in a community service project at the Washington Veterans Home in Retsil, assisting the grounds crew with various clean-up projects. The veterans home is a 31-acre state-of-the-art facility serving more than 240 veterans needing both long-term nursing and assisted-living care. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jamie Hawkins/Released)

RETSIL, Wash. (August 20, 2013) More than 70 chief petty officers and chief petty officer selects assigned to commands within Navy Region Northwest participated in a community service project at the Washington Veterans Home in Retsil, assisting the grounds crew with various clean-up projects. The veterans home is a 31-acre state-of-the-art facility serving more than 240 veterans needing both long-term nursing and assisted-living care. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jamie Hawkins/Released)

RETSIL, Wash. (August 20, 2013) Chief Hull Maintenance Technician Chris Surman, assigned to Naval Intermediate Maintenance Facility Bangor, removes weeds from the grounds of Washington Veterans Home in Retsil during a community service project (COMSERV). More than 70 chief petty officers and chief petty officer selects assigned to commands within Navy Region Northwest participated in the COMSERV. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jamie Hawkins/Released)

RETSIL, Wash. (August 20, 2013) Chief Hull Maintenance Technician Chris Surman, assigned to Naval Intermediate Maintenance Facility Bangor, removes weeds from the grounds of Washington Veterans Home in Retsil during a community service project (COMSERV). More than 70 chief petty officers and chief petty officer selects assigned to commands within Navy Region Northwest participated in the COMSERV. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jamie Hawkins/Released)

RETSIL, Wash. (August 20, 2013) Chief (select) Aviation Electronics Technician Dennis Fain, assigned to Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), shovels weeds from the grounds of Washington Veterans Home in Retsil during a community service project (COMSERV). More than 70 chief petty officers and chief petty officer selects assigned to commands within Navy Region Northwest participated in the COMSERV.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jamie Hawkins/Released)

RETSIL, Wash. (August 20, 2013) Chief (select) Aviation Electronics Technician Dennis Fain, assigned to Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), shovels weeds from the grounds of Washington Veterans Home in Retsil during a community service project (COMSERV). More than 70 chief petty officers and chief petty officer selects assigned to commands within Navy Region Northwest participated in the COMSERV. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jamie Hawkins/Released)

RETSIL, Wash. (August 20, 2013) Senior Chief Sonar Technician (Surface) Charles Eakley, Transient Personnel Unit Puget Sound command senior chief, speaks with retired Army veteran Robert Evans during a community service project (COMSERV) at Washington Veterans Home in Retsil. More than 70 chief petty officers and chief petty officer selects assigned to commands within Navy Region Northwest participated in the COMSERV. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jamie Hawkins/Released)

RETSIL, Wash. (August 20, 2013) Senior Chief Sonar Technician (Surface) Charles Eakley, Transient Personnel Unit Puget Sound command senior chief, speaks with retired Army veteran Robert Evans during a community service project (COMSERV) at Washington Veterans Home in Retsil. More than 70 chief petty officers and chief petty officer selects assigned to commands within Navy Region Northwest participated in the COMSERV. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jamie Hawkins/Released)

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