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USS Robert G. Bradley Sailors Perform COMREL Project in Panama

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070425-01
Release Date: 4/25/2007 7:27:00 AM

By Ensign Barry J. Cohen, USS Robert G. Bradley Public Affairs

VASCO NUNEZ DE BALBOA, Panama (NNS) -- A group of 14 Sailors from USS Robert G. Bradley (FFG 49) performed a community relations (COMREL) project during a port visit to Panama on March 25.

The COMREL was held at a house for at-risk children from abusive and extremely impoverished homes. Founded in 1998 and located outside of Panama City, the home can provide for 10 to 15 children at a time.

During their time at the home, Bradley Sailors painted several rooms, made preparations for more paint in other rooms, repaired several broken bicycles, and bought a VCR and several Spanish language Disney movies for the children.

After the Sailors amassed 114 hours of hard work, they were able to present the freshly painted rooms to the children, who thanked the crew with smiles and hugs.

“Participating in a COMREL is the best part of a port call. I get to interact with people and actually be a blessing to them by fulfilling an important need like home improvements," Chaplain Lt. Benny Mathis said. "We also filled them up with the much needed love and attention [that] they deserve, but I think that they out gave us in this area. It is hard to out give a child in love. We were all richly rewarded for our service."

Cmdr. James Cody, Robert G. Bradley’s commanding officer said regardless of how long the crew has been at sea and how stressful his Sailor's jobs are, they do not hesitate to give up their time off to help make life more comfortable for children in the countries they visit.

"At every port we’ve visited, [the COMREL coordinator] has had a project arranged and no shortage of volunteers to help out. My pride in these Sailors could not be any greater,” Cody said.

Robert G. Bradley is currently deployed for U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command to the Caribbean area of responsibility in support of counter-narcoterrorism.

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