Faculty, students, parents and volunteers in the Yokosuka military complex share the responsibility to fulfill each child’s academic potential, develop problem solving skills and build positive character traits in all children at the Sullivans School.
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Chief Ship’s Serviceman Marcus Ponder (left), NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Provisions Customer Service Leading Chief Petty Officer and CPO 365 Community Relations Planner, works with Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) member Lt. Atsushi Nikata (right), Planning Division Officer for JMSDF Ship Supply Depot (SSD) and fellow volunteer, during a joint community relations event at the Sullivans School on board Yokosuka Naval Base.
This is the mission of the Yokosuka Naval Base elementary school, which had more than 30 Sailors from NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Yokosuka partnered with members of the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) volunteering as part of a joint community relations (COMREL) project at the school.
“The efforts of the COMREL helped our IT department deliver new laptops and docking stations to classrooms, helped set them up and helped them remove computers from current classrooms that were out of warranty,” said Kasey Lahousse, School Counselor. “The volunteers also helped the counseling department organize teacher folders, student manipulatives and other necessities, which would have taken the counseling department countless hours.”
The Sailors who volunteered where part of their commands CPO 365 team.
CPO 365, is a yearlong development and training program for first class petty officers, which was first introduced in 2010 and according to guidance put out by the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Mike Stevens, developing effective leaders does not happen in a few short weeks – it is a continuous and never-ending process in which CPO 365 is the single, sustained method to train, build and develop Chief Petty Officers.
“It is important for me to be a part of CPO 365 because this program guides me to be a Chief in the United States Navy,” said Logistics Specialist 1st Class Sharon Canales, an expeditor for NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka’s Industrial Support Department and CPO 365 member. “The CPO Mess provides us training, mentorship and guidance from their vast knowledge and years of experience being the Chief.”
For Canales it was also an opportunity to give back to the school, which educates both of her children, adding that helping the teachers gave her an appreciation for all the hard work they perform.
Many of the Sailors felt their efforts where for a great cause.
“Nothing is better than helping a kid get a better education,” said Chief Ship’s Serviceman Marcus Ponder, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Provisions Customer Service Leading Chief Petty Officer and CPO 365 Community Relations Planner. “Letting the community see you out there giving back makes me proud to be serving.”
The overall computer install job could have taken two to three days but was reduced substantially to just a few hours, said Information Technology Specialist 1st Class Raymond Hake, Automated Information Systems technician for NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka’s Business Operations Department and CPO 365 member.
The assistance provided not only benefited the school staff but also the students and the Sailors themselves.
“Volunteering at the school was something I wanted to do because there’s nothing I treasure more than service,” said Logistics Specialist 1st Class Brian Weil, a CPO 365 member and NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Operations Department Logistics Service Representative. “It was a very rewarding feeling that I got after helping the teachers and students.”
The purpose of replacing all those computers was so that the children could complete their standardized tests, said Weil, adding that without our help, the faculty may not have gotten it done on time and the students wouldn’t have been able to take their tests.
“We showed those teachers and students that we care and that we’re here for them,” said Weil. “I believe we established a lasting impression in them that speaks volumes about our thoughtful character as individuals, service members and as a family.”
At the end of the day, hard work, a desire to take care of the community and a deep rooted mission in developing strong Navy leaders has led this group of volunteers back from the local classrooms to the deckplate where these Sailors perform their duty ensuring the warfighter in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility has what they need when they need it.
So whether it is fuel, food, mail, parts, supplies or services, the men and women of NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka will continue to ensure delivery of all products and services to all customers at all times – while also looking for ways to lend a hand.
Story and Photos by Sky M. Laron, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Director of Corporate Communications