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Seabees Renovate Orphanages in the Seychelles

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS060118-07
Release Date: 1/18/2006 2:15:00 PM

By Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Curt Cooper, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs

VICTORIA, Seychelles (NNS) -- Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3 detachment based in Bahrain completed renovations and re-opened two orphanages during a ribbon cutting ceremony in Victoria, Seychelles, Jan. 18.

Seabees expended 780 man-days renovating the Foyer de La Providence and Foyer de Nazareth orphanages, a daycare facility and an infirmary. They installed 7,000 sq. ft. of ceramic tile, replaced 119 light fixtures, replaced a 900 sq. ft. concrete patio and upgraded four bathrooms.

“As Seabees, we get the chance often to help others,” said Senior Chief Steelworker Tim Bray. “All I can hope for is that we have shown the compassion Americans have for all people. The engraving on the Seabee memorial reads, ‘with compassion for others, we build ...we fight’.”

Bray compares this project to some of the major community relations projects he has participated in during his career. “I personally have been involved in numerous relief efforts and humanitarian missions. I participated in the Haitian relief in 94-95, Mount Pinatubo, flood relief in the Midwest in 93. But this job has been especially gratifying,” he said.

U.S. Embassy Port Louis' Charge d'Affaires Stephen Schwartz praised the Seabees for their dedicated and professional work in this project and for giving the children who live at these orphanages an opportunity to make a positive difference in their community.

"The renovation of Foyer de La Providence and Foyer de Nazareth orphanages represents the strong and important partnership that exists between the Seychelles and the United States of America. The U.S. Government is pleased to support faith-based and other community organizations that play important roles in their societies, and this is an important example of enhancing these institutions,” said Schwartz.

The impact of the generosity and hard work of the Seabees and the U.S. Navy can be summed up in the words of the Sister Aimee of the St. Elizabeth Convent in Victoria.

"For my part I am very happy that St. Elizabeth Convent and the boys orphanage which is an annex has benefitted from the U.S. help," she said. "On our own we would never have been able to offer these improvements to the living conditions to our residents. But still more important than the financial implications is the friendship that has developed between the U.S. and Seychellois community during the stay of your troops here. The Sailors have become part of our family.”

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