Precommissioning Unit Arlington (LPD 24) was selected from 57 commands for Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic’s (MIDLANT) 2012 Community Service of the Year Award, which was announced Oct. 3.
During the award period, from July 1, 2011 – June 30, 2102, more than 300 Arlington Sailors at the training detachment in Norfolk and at the ship’s construction site in Pascagoula, Miss., devoted more than 5,000 hours to volunteering.
“Our Sailors have made a significant impact on the lives of our neighbors in the Hampton Roads and Gulf Coast communities and represented the Navy-Marine Corps Team in superb fashion,” said Arlington’s Prospective Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Darren Nelson.
Categorized as a medium-sized shore command while under construction, Arlington took top honors for this year’s MIDLANT awards program in four areas: Personal Excellence Partnership Program, Project Good Neighbor, Environmental Stewardship and Health, Safety and Fitness.
Lt. Victoria Chappell, chaplain, and Arlington’s community service program coordinator, commended the ship’s Sailors for winning the award in a competition among larger and longer-established commands.
“But you already won when you made a homeless man smile or a low-income family moved into a Habitat for House you built, or when military personnel at the airport had somewhere to sleep because you kept the USO (United Service Organizations) open overnight by volunteering for 12-hour shifts, and so much more,” Chappell said. “Thank you for changing the lives of those in our communities for the better, and keep up the outstanding work and effort.”
Arlington’s Sailors regularly volunteer for organizations that include the USO, Hampton Roads Naval Museum, Christ and St. Luke’s Church Soup Kitchen, Keep Norfolk Beautiful’s Adopt-a-Spot, Habitat for Humanity, Nauticus and Arlington Heights Elementary School. In July, the command received the President’s Volunteer Service Award – Gold Level, for completing more than 1,000 hours of community service in the calendar year.
By winning this award, Arlington will go on the represent MIDLANT against 11 other Navy regions worldwide for Commander, Navy Installation Command’s prestigious Bainbridge Award. The winner of that award, which recognizes the most outstanding community service program initiatives by an individual command, will be announced by the end of November.
Naval Today Staff, October 8, 2012; Image: Navy