MARYSVILLE, Wash., January 20, 2014 (NNS) – Sailors stationed on Naval Station Everett (NSE) commemorated the Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday by volunteering for a “Day of Service” Jan. 17.
In order to honor King’s legacy of service to community, 15 Sailors volunteered their time serving at the Marysville Community Food Bank.
“We just wanted to get out here and show them that there are people that care,” said Culinary Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Christine Deo, coordinator of the event and head of the NSE multicultural committee.
The Sailors spent their morning at the food bank helping out other volunteers with tasks such as organizing food, checking expiration dates, loading shopping carts with food and assisting food bank clients.
“I think it’s a rare opportunity to be able to interact with the (community) like this,” said Culinary Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Shannon O’Neill. “We get an opportunity to actually make an impact on the community where we live … Martin Luther King was all about helping people so it goes in accordance with that.”
NSE’s multicultural committee planned the day in order to honor King through actions that exemplify his spirit of self-sacrifice. The multi-cultural committee organizes meetings, events and volunteer opportunities meant to highlight the importance of diversity on cultural appreciation in the Navy.
In Deo’s opinion, service was a cornerstone of King’s work, and helping others is central to his legacy.
“So we decided that was what we wanted to do,” she said. “We wanted to volunteer to give up our time to help others who needed it … we wanted to actually get out into the community and serve.”
Volunteers are the lifeblood of the food bank, and it could not run without them, said Dell Deierling, Marysville Community Food Bank director. In 2013, the volunteers logged 34,260 hours of service.
“These guys get pretty busy over here, so whatever we can do to help them out and make sure everybody gets enough food,” said O’Neill. “Whatever they need … we’re here to help.”
According to Deierling, the spirit of service shown by the volunteer Sailors is greatly valued by both volunteers and clients of the food bank.
“You’re already serving the country and then you’re serving [food bank patrons], so that’s really neat,” said Deierling. “We got what we need today. It’s really appreciated.”
These Sailors’ commitment to service does not end after MLK day. According the command multicultural committee, they are planning on returning to the food bank in the future to volunteer on a more regular basis.
“The volunteers love it when the Navy comes,” said Deierling. “I think the clients really enjoy it too. When I walked out today and I said, ‘You’re going to be served by the Navy,’ they thought that was pretty cool.”
The 2014 national theme, “A Day on! Not a day off!” is meant to motivate people across the nation to observe the federal holiday on Jan. 20 as a day of service to help out their surrounding community and to not take the day off.