Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dakota Rayburn
BREMERTON, Washington – Sailors from both aircraft carriers homeported at Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton Sailors worked together at a community service (COMSERV) project cleaning up Ivy Green Cemetery, May 19.
More than 40 Sailors from USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and USS Nimitz (CVN 68) teamed up with volunteers from the local community to clean debris and overgrowth from the grounds in the 15-acre cemetery to honor the service members buried there for Memorial Day.
Sailors from John C. Stennis’ supply department conduct COMSERVs such as this every month as a means to give back to the community.
“I look forward … to coming out here and doing something with the community every month,” said Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Deprees Lindsay, from Mansfield, Ohio, assigned to John C. Stennis. “I like to come out here and show my support to all the vets that were before me and I’m pretty sure I can say the same about a lot of the other Sailors that are out here,”
Local community leaders also showed their support and assisted the Sailors and local volunteers in the clean up project.
“As part of our community service we come over here to help clean up the cemetery from time to time,” said Bremerton City Council Member Richard Huddy. “It helps to beautify the city and it also helps us to honor the veterans as we get ready for Memorial Day.”
Ivy Green Cemetery, a division of the Bremerton Parks and Recreation department, is the site of Bremerton’s “Tomb of the Unknown” monument, USS Saratoga Memorial and grave of Congressional Medal of Honor recipient John H. Nibbe, who was a Navy quartermaster during the Civil War.
According to Huddy, Marion “Mick” Hersey, a retired Navy senior chief petty officer, is primarily responsible for setting this project, and others like it, in motion. He said Hersey has a commitment to veterans and the memory of veterans, which is why this cemetery work is important to him.
“This has been one of my main focal points because I believe in honor and respect for our veterans,” said Hersey. “Besides this we take care of all the veteran’s memorials throughout town, all done with volunteer help.”
Volunteer Ramon Iniguez said Hersey brought the project to his attention and invited volunteers from his workplace to come out and help.
“I’m really glad that I’m out here to see what the people do to help out their community,” said Iniguez. “This is a big deal with Memorial Day weekend coming up and obviously we want to support the community.”
Huddy also commented on the importance of Sailors getting involved in their communities and how it was necessary to maintain certain projects within the city.
“I would tell [Sailors] that their contributions are very meaningful,” said Huddy. “We couldn’t get these kinds of things done without their help, and we hope that this sets a tone for their life where they will be involved in their communities no matter where they are.”