Winnipeg team donates time to French charity

Navy sailors with renovation supplies

LS Jose Villano, LS Andrew Drake and AS Matthew White from HMCS Winnipeg help with renovations at the Résidence solidaire les Favières in Toulon, France, during a break from Operation Reassurance Nov. 18.

SLt Jamie Tobin, HMCS Winnipeg – Eight members of HMCS Winnipeg assisted a local not-for-profit organization in Toulon, France, Nov. 19.

The team went to Résidence solidaire les Favières, a local rehabilitation centre that provides a stable living environment for people in Toulon that require support. While they were there, the team painted living areas and took on landscaping jobs that provided the grounds with a much needed facelift.

“The group did a lot of great work out there,” said PO1 Timothy Hobson, one of the team leads. “We were able to accomplish as much in one day that their one maintenance employee could have accomplished in several weeks, and he was very pleased with the result.”

The work party took on this community relations initiative during the ship`s rest and maintenance period, a time that is set aside from major deployments to conduct maintenance on the ship and give the crew a brief reprieve from operations. Those involved in the event were more than willing to take time away from this period to lend a hand in support of the community.

“We really appreciated the team’s work, willing spirit and openness to help out,” said Tim Rawls, the Director of Résidence solidaire les Favières.

One team took on two painting projects in rooms inside the facility, while the other leveled ground for a functional clothes line and cleared brush, weeds and shrubs out of the facility`s large hillside property.

“It felt really good to get out into the community and get my hands dirty,” said LS Jose Villano, a Combat Systems Engineering Technician. “Volunteer opportunities are certainly deployment highlights for me and I was really glad that I could participate in this one.”

The event was organized by the ship’s Chaplain, Lt(N) Matthew Squires, with support from Winnipeg’s Forward Logistics Support.

“Community relations events are meaningful events that impact ship’s morale by contributing to esprit de corps and at the same time, are lot of fun,” said Padre Squires. “We are fortunate to have a great team of individuals in Winnipeg eager to serve the communities we visit.”

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