In total, 12 Sailors participated in the community relations project (COMREL) playing basketball and soccer with 12 orphan boys, ranging from ages 6 to 15.
“I love giving back to the community, especially overseas” said Aviation Warfare Rescuer 2nd Class (AW) Ryan Quinn. “The highlight of the day was definitely seeing how playing a simple game of basketball lit up the boys’ faces.”
Quinn, along with some other HSL 44 Sailors, gave the boys U.S. military patches as souvenirs. Winston S. Churchill baseball caps were also handed out to the boys, in addition to more than 100 books.
Yeoman 2nd Class Casey Patterson, currently an Individual Augmentee assigned to Ocean Look Task Unit, Seychelles, arranged the COMREL for the Churchill crew. Patterson, along with 30 other Sailors, Soldiers, and Airmen, visit the orphanage twice a month, as well as organizing COMREL for all the Navy ships that pull into Seychelles.
“Our unit alone has put in over 140 hours of volunteer work for the orphanage by doing painting, cleaning, yard work, pizza parties, playing sports and fun activities”, said Patterson.
Another sailor who took his time to volunteer for the event was Navy Counselor 1st Class (SW) Carl Johnson from Houston, Texas. Johnson participates in COMREL projects whenever his command is involved in them, whether it be back home in Norfolk or in ports overseas.
“It gives a great sense of purpose to attend COMRELS for the less fortunate. The Foyer De Nazerath Boys Orphanage COMREL went very well; we were able to brighten up the kids’ days”, said Johnson.
USS Winston S. Churchill is currently assigned to Combined Task Force 151, operating in the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin, conducting counter-piracy. At present CTF-151 is commanded by Turkish Navy Rear Adm. Sinan Ertugrul, in his Flagship TCG Gokceada.
“It is great that the Sailors of USS Winston S Churchill took the time that they had while in port to undertake such commendable work in supporting the orphanage”, said Ertugrul. “CTF-151 is in the region to conduct counter-piracy operations, but we try to do as much as we can whenever we are in port. We are here in the region as a force for good which extends to the land as well as the sea.”