Sailors assigned to the submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS 40) dedicated eight hours helping locals clear out debris throughout the community of Basak Pardo, March 24.
The community service (COMSERV) effort was split into two events. The first was in the morning cleaning the area in the back of the small village where the children play. After lunch, the team cleared the creek bed from trash, roots and rocks, so water could run through unobstructed.
“Out of all the COMSERVs I’ve done so far, I really thought this one was exceptional,” said Lt. Cmdr. John Miyahara, command chaplain of the Frank Cable. “Even though it was laborious and dirty, I think this time we really had so many people from the community working with us that it was truly amazing in that way.”
According to Remie Vistil Mondigo, executive assistant on international and local relations, protocol and diplomatic affairs for the city mayor’s office, there is a landfill near the Barangay – meaning a small ward – of Basak Pardo in the south district of Cebu. This leaves an abundance of waste and rubbish in the community during high and low tides. She said the mayor’s office of Cebu is working to address this and other issues in the city.
“It’s been very hands-on and a little physically demanding, but nothing we couldn’t handle. Everyone gave 110% and worked through it with the hot sun and everything,” said Hull Maintenance Technician 2nd Class John Overwise. “It was fun, and it feels good to give back to the community.”
The Frank Cable Sailors withstood the heat and the arduous labor high in spirit as the occasion was most noted for the participation of and the interaction with the community. The Sailors worked hand in hand with the local volunteers from Basak Pardo Emergency Response team (BEPR). These Sailors fit in seamlessly with the community and enjoyed the interaction.
“It was awesome working together. At one point, we chopped down a tree, and I had one half, and two or three of the locals had the other half. And it was fun.” said Overwise. “Getting to know the children was amazing. Some of the little girls reminded me of my daughter back home.”
The Sailors built quite a rapport with the locals in the village and were even invited to play a game of basketball before everyone sat down together for lunch. The people from the village fixed a traditional Filipino dish for the Sailors with plenty to go around, and the Sailors shared the sandwiches and chips they brought from the ship.
“The Sailors worked very hard, and I am amazed,” said Mondigo. “They reached out to the community, and the community responded very well. The people are very happy, and the place looks clean now.”
Frank Cable conducts maintenance and support of submarines and surface vessels deployed in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.
Naval Today Staff, March 27, 2013