Story by Petty Officer 3rd Class Charles Gaddis IV, Navy Public Affairs Support Element, Det. Northwest
SILVERDALE, Wash. – Naval Base Kitsap (NBK) and the Navy Exchange (NEX) held a NEX Cares event at the NBK-Bangor NEX for the families of Sailors and Marines currently deployed.
The NEX Cares Event provides everything needed to write notes, create artwork, and build and mail a care package to deployed service members.
”I think it is a great idea to have this event,” said Jessie Montgomery, a spouse of a USS Ohio (SSGN 726) (Gold) crewmember. “My children love to put together care packages for my husband.”
The NEX provided participants with a $20 NEX gift card to assist family members shopping for their deployed loved one’s favorite treats and essentials to include in the care package.
“I think it is really nice the NEX is helping us connect with our dad overseas,” said Seth Colflesh, son of an Ohio (Gold) crewmember.
For all registered participants, the NEX provided a Fuji Instax camera to take photos of the event and decorate a frame for the care package.
“My husband was a command master chief and when he was overseas I understood the joy these packages bring to service members,” said Teresa Singleton, NEX store manager.
More than ten vendors contributed to the NEX Cares event.
“We had to modify the event slightly to accommodate the current standings of our ships and subs,” said Cricket Mathews, NBK NEX General Manager.
Normally ships are deployed during the event, but with two homeported carriers and a multitude of submarines, shipping of the care packages was a big concern.
Five other bases are holding the event, but this is the first time it is being held at NBK.
“We feel this event is very special,” said Mathews. “This is not only the first time it is being held at NBK, but also the first time NEX Cares has been held at a submarine base.”
For service members that will be deployed, the NEX will have the care packages shipped to arrive before or on Thanksgiving.