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Saturday, November 24, 2012


121121-D-QK571-165 VENTURA, Ca. (Nov. 21, 2012) Left, Capt. David Sasek and Command Master Chief Thomas Cyr, the chief staff officer and command master chief at Naval Base Ventura County, serve up thanksgiving meals with members of local community and law enforcement agencies. Thirty Sailors, including Chief Petty Officer Alan Grow, right, helped serve over 800 meals at the Ventura County Rescue Mission in Oxnard, Calif. Nov. 21. Photo by Andrea Howry, NBVC public affairs.
California Sailors Help Serve Thanksgiving Meals to the Homeless
Andrea Howry, Naval Base Ventura County Public Affairs

OXNARD, Calif. (NNS) -- Sailors from Naval Base Ventura County were among the 150 volunteers who showed up at the Ventura County Rescue Mission in Oxnard Calif., Nov. 21.

"We are so appreciative that the military is willing to give up a day and come help the community," said John Saltee, director of the rescue mission. "We are so pleased with the turnout."

Chief Staff Officer David Sasek and Command Master Chief Thomas Cyr were among several local dignitaries at one buffet table serving food onto plates that were then taken to the families seated at picnic tables all over the rescue mission property.

Another buffet table was staffed by Sailors in their khaki uniforms, while more Sailors shuttled steaming plates of food to the hungry families.

While serving did not begin until noon, several volunteers came as early as 10:30 a.m. to help with behind-the-scenes work, from wrapping plastic tableware in napkins and tying them with orange yarn to setting out drinking cups filled with ice.

A dozen other volunteers from the base visited the rescue mission the day before to help set up for the feast.

"It's important to help out," said Construction Electrician 3rd Class Bryan Sheridan of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3. "We all need to give something back."

"We have a lot of things to be thankful for. We need to give, too," said Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Ivy Jane Ibarra, also of NMCB 3.

Five volunteers came from Naval Branch Health Clinic, including Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Starleen Whitaker.

"I wanted to help support the needy," said Whitaker. "I like reaching out to the community."

Lt. Jeffrey Han, base chaplain, said the religious ministries team organizes several volunteer opportunities at the rescue mission every year.

"This is important because it's Thanksgiving," he said. "But it's important to volunteer the other 364 days of the year as well."