Sailors from Naval Station Everett’s (NSE) CPO 365 program participated in a community relations project (COMREL) to help maintain grave sites at the Marysville Cemetery, May 22.
During the event, Sailors cleared grave sites, cleaned headstones, and placed American flags on graves of veterans. The event was designed to prepare the cemetery for Memorial Day, honor the veterans who are laid to rest there, and teach participating Sailors the importance of remembering those who have gone before them.
“I think that it’s very important that we do COMRELs, especially during Memorial Day,” said Electronics Technician 1st Class (SW) Tracy Rico a native of Altus, Oklahoma, who helped organize the event. “We’re showing the community that we care about them; we care about our fallen veterans. We definitely want to show our support.”
CPO 365 is a yearlong professional development and training program, designed to prepare 1st class petty officers to be chiefs. First introduced in 2010 under former Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Rick West, the program takes a multifaceted approach to mentoring the U.S. Navy’s future enlisted leadership.
Physical fitness, U.S. Navy heritage, mentorship and community service are all aspects of CPO 365.
“What the volunteerism does, is it actually teaches people to coordinate,” said Chief Fire Controlman (SW/AW) Henry Taimonglo, a native of Asan, Guam and vice president of the Greater Northwest Chief Petty Officers Association. “It allows us to actually have our Sailors see that they can work together to accomplish a common goal.”
The event helped prepare the cemetery for its annual American flag display for the Memorial Day weekend. There were 252 American flags draped over veterans’ graves and donated by their families will be displayed in the cemetery over the weekend.
Scott Locke, an employee at the cemetery and a retired U.S. Navy chief petty officer, said he loves to see Sailors come to help maintain the cemetery.
“It makes me feel really, really good … it gives me a chance to bond, and maybe share with the future chiefs,” said Locke. “If there’s one thing we could say, it’s we really appreciate the help from the military here. All the veterans do.”
On NSE, Sailors also celebrated Memorial Day through a ceremony on base. The ceremony included the raising of the colors, words from NSE’s commanding officer, and a wreath-laying ceremony.
Press Release, May 23, 2014; Image: Wikimedia