Sailors pitch-in during port visit

LS Wolls and MS Ferguson clean the grounds of Honour House

LS Wolls (foreground) and MS Ferguson from HMCS Algonquin clean the grounds of Honour House in New Westminster April 26. The crew members, along with four of their counterparts took the day to give back to the community by assisting Honour House volunteers with yard maintenance and clean up duties.

Canadian and American Navy sailors teamed up to support six different charities as part of the Vancouver Port Visit April 26-29.
Eighty-two volunteers from USS Lake Champlain, HMC Ships Algonquin, Victoria, Nanaimo and Saskatoon did everything from mowing lawns to motivating new Canadians.

Six sailors spent a day improving the grounds of Honour House, a home away from home for Canadian Armed Forces personnel, first responders and their families while they are receiving medical treatment in Vancouver.

The home was selected to be part of the 2013 New Westminster Heritage Homes Tour. Although the interior of the home was in good shape, the exterior needed a facelift. RAdm Truelove also paid a visit to Honour House. He met residents and thanked volunteers who provide regular support to the facility.

Five female sailors from HMC Ships Nanaimo, Saskatoon and Algonquin spent a day volunteering at the Downtown Eastside Women’s Emergency Shelter. They donated clothing and goods, organized the storage rooms and helped with meal preparation and serving.

Meanwhile, three other sailors spoke about their experiences as new Canadians and being in the Navy at S.U.C.C.E.S.S., an immigration settlement and integration agency.

Seventy-five sailors from Patrol Craft Training ships, HMC Ships Nanaimo and Saskatoon, and USS Lake Champlain braved April showers to rehabilitate Heywood and Doran parks in North Vancouver. They removed invasive species, planted natural vegetation and cleaned up litter.
“It was so great to have so many volunteers from the navy show up”, said Stephanie Levy, Evergreen Project Manager. “They accomplished in a few hours what would have taken us months to do alone. They really gave a boost of positive energy to our regular volunteers. Thank you so much.”

Habitat for Humanity’s Greater Vancouver offices received a fresh coat of paint from members of HMCS Algonquin.

Stephani Samraidis, Director of Fund Development for Habitat for Humanity, was grateful for the facelift. “On behalf of Habitat for Humanity and our volunteers, donors and families, thank you for your incredible generosity of time and experiences this past weekend. Our office is now beautifully painted, 12 volunteers had a ship display of a lifetime and over 20 donors relished in your onboard hospitality,” she said.

While the volunteers were busy throughout the lower mainland, HMCS Nanaimo’s Casualty Clearing Team assisted RCMP and paramedics with a civilian casualty after a worker fell from the pier onto the rocks below. They then attended a fund raiser at a North Vancouver gymnasium to raise funds for a local woman who is undergoing cancer treatment.

-Marie Ormiston, Community Liaison Officer

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