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NMCB 1 Donates Bicycles to Underprivileged Children in Guam

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS071218-14
Release Date: 12/18/2007 2:05:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Demetrius Kennon, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 1 Public Affairs

CAMP COVINGTON, Guam (NNS) -- Seabees of U.S. Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1, Guam Detachment (Det.), donated six new bicycles to underprivileged children at Chief Brodie Memorial Elementary School (CBMES) in Tamuning, Guam, Dec. 18.

The Seabees of NMCB 1 learned a few things from their last visit to the school that set them up for another opportunity to be involved with the Guam community.

"While we were at CBMES for their 47th Annual Commemoration Ceremony on Oct. 26, the faculty mentioned that the last battalion that was here on station during the holidays had donated two bicycles," said Senior Chief Builder E. Dan Walker, the detachment's senior enlisted leader. "I brought up the idea to the messes when we returned to camp."

Representatives within the detachment from the 2nd Class, 1st Class, and Chief Petty Officers' Associations and the Officers' Wardroom began raising money to donate bicycles.

"My chain of command put out the word to me to discuss with the rest of the [petty officers second class], and everybody seemed like they were interested," said Builder 2nd Class Deanna Whelply, the 2nd Class Petty Officers' Association president. "In fact, they were so interested we ended up getting two bikes when we were only asked to get one, because we received a lot of donations."

The 1st Class Petty Officers' Association raised enough money for two bicycles. The chiefs and officers worked together and bought two as well. With the holiday season in full swing, the spirit of giving hit the Seabees hard during this critical time in their deployment.

"I'd rather give than receive, myself," said Whelply. "It makes me feel good. When you're away from home, and you can't be with your family, you can't be with your friends, but you can do something for someone else – that in itself makes you feel pretty good."

Construction Electrician 1st Class Jason Knorr, the vice-president of the 1st Class Petty Officers' Association, recalls what it meant to him the first time he received a bike.

"My first bike was a hand-me-down from my brother. It had hard wheels, and I had to learn to ride it on a hill," said Knorr. "It was brown and ugly, but just like any kid, I was just happy to have something, because we grew up in a little bit of a poor family."

Like Knorr, some of the students of CBMES were less fortunate; however, their high spirits and willingness to better themselves makes them wealthy.

"A lot of times, kids don't know that there's more, just because of a situation that is beyond their control," said Walker. "To have that little bit of 'wow' makes all the difference to them."

This experience also made a difference to the deployed Seabees of "The First and the Finest."

"Seeing the kids smile, is what I was looking forward to," said Knorr, a father of two. "It reminds me of my kids, so it helps me with being away, and it makes me feel good knowing that we made the kids happy."

All facets of the military actively perform humanitarian missions at home and abroad, but a lot of times they go unseen and unheard. Because of service members like Chief Builder Clifford Brodie, who started the construction of CBMES in 1960, the military continues to build upon the legacy of "giving back to the community."

"We know that civilians support us, and conversely, when we can, we support them," said Walker. "We're a part of the community, right? No matter where we go, no matter what we do, we're a part of the community, and we can never forget that."

For more news from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 1, visit www.navy.mil/local/nmcb1/.

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