USS Doyle, DESRON 40 Rehab School in Curacao
Story Number: NNS090904-05
Release Date: 9/4/2009 6:08:00 AM
By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW) Patrick Grieco, Destroyer Squadron 40 Public Affairs
WILLEMSTAD, Curacao (NNS) -- The guided-missile frigate USS Doyle (FFG 39) and Destroyer Squadron 40 (DESRON 40) Sailors worked alongside Airmen from the Hato, Curacao Airport Detachment conducting a community relations (COMREL) project at the Ellis Juliana School in Willemstad, Curacao Aug. 31.
Sailors and Airman volunteered to help the local school repaint the school's roof and conduct minor repairs throughout the school.
"My first reaction was that I was very grateful and glad for their help," said Enid Fambo, the school's principal. "It has been 20 years since anyone has painted our roof and that is why we are very excited for what you did for us."
Fambo said three groups of Navy and Air Force service members visited the school earlier to survey the site and interact with the children. "I was very glad to have three groups of people from the United States here to assist us," said Fambo. "The first group came out earlier to play with the children, and I am very happy for it."
Personnel Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Larry Gizankis, leading petty officer for Doyle's Executive division, said the COMREL was not just about bettering the lives of the children, but also forming stronger bonds with the people of Curacao and working with the Air Force personnel that are temporarily stationed here.
"Aside from the actual physical work we did at the school, it's also about building the bond with the staff and the community around us. It shows that we are helping out as much as we can, and they see that, so it helps strengthen our bonds with the nation."
Gizankis said he feels in today's modern world the United States needs its multinational allies to face global challenges that affect us all.
"The bonds we build with these countries are important in protecting ourselves and keeping other countries safe as well. These bonds will be lifelong and still exist, long after we're gone and our children are carrying on our legacies," Gizankis said.
At the conclusion of the project, Fambo was presented with an honorary DESRON 40 candy jar, and the students took a group photo with the U.S. service members.
Doyle is on a six-month deployment to Latin America and the Caribbean as part of Southern Seas 2009 in support of U.S. Southern Command's Partnership of the Americas maritime strategy. Southern Seas focuses on working with partner nations in the region conducting exercises, military to military engagements, and theater security cooperation engagements to enhance interoperability. This year's deployment includes Doyle, USS Kauffman (FFG 59) and USS Ford (FFG 54), and is executed by DESRON 40 as CTG 40.0.
For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusns/.
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