For months, the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz has been in an extended planned incremental maintenance availability (EPIA) where Sailors work throughout the week to bring the ship back to fighting condition. With the hefty amount of work being done, some Nimitz Sailors want to unwind and relax during their free time. But many others are spending their off time being a positive force in their local communities by volunteering with local organizations.
Nimitz Sailors have shown the Navy’s character and capabilities at home and around the world by volunteering and supporting their local and global communities.
“If we can take care of our home while we are here, we can definitely take care of the world while we are out there,” said the Religious Ministries Department’s community relations’ event coordinator, Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuel) Airman Jasmine Oliver, a native of St. Louis. “We still have groups that call the ship to fulfill their needs and they usually treat us well because they know that we work hard.”
People who work in the community also benefit from the work that Nimitz Sailors do.
Recently, Nimitz Sailors assisted the staff at a local Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) by painting rooms, replacing safety ramp railings, and cleaning and reorganizing the facility’s storage garage.
“It’s extremely helpful,” said Cassie Israel, a YWCA staff member. “These are projects that we often don’t have the time to attend to because of our jobs. Our jobs are very time consuming, so the fact that community members such Sailors come out and spend time on your day off to do all these projects is amazing. Without that kind of support, we can’t do what we do.”
These acts from Sailors can help create a better relationship with community members and even make a lasting impression on a person’s life.
“You’ll never know what people are going through,” said Oliver. “The smallest things can really help a person have a better day. It’s the little things that matter.” Oliver is a volunteer at a local retirement home where she spends time with the elderly, and has been volunteering at the home for almost a year.
“There was a patient that I used to have that had a stroke on my first day there,” said Oliver. “I’ve been volunteering there since September of last year. After her stroke, she worked on her speaking because she couldn’t talk. Recently, she was able to say her first words, and she told me that she loved me. She kept holding me and I broke down crying. I was so emotional.”
The contributions of Sailors can have a resounding impact on their community.
“Hopefully they are more comfortable and at ease knowing certain things are fixed,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) Airman Ashley Brown, a native of Chicago. “They can continue to grow and move past the hardships. For us, it’s all about giving back.”
Sailors communicating and building relationships with people in their community can give Nimitz a personal face that people can relate to.
“Overall, it puts our name out there for people who don’t know USS Nimitz or for those who only know us as a warship,” said Oliver. “It lets them know that we still have a loving heart and we can do more for the community.”
As Nimitz becomes operational, Sailors will have more on their plate and less personal time. However, this is a time where Nimitz can give back and get the support from her home. Nimitz is committed to their community and service beyond service.
Story by MC3 Erickson Magno