Another reason to be grateful

Published 9:22 pm Tuesday, April 2, 2013

With their historic ship having undergoing deactivation following a long deployment and their shipmates wondering about future assignments, 18 sailors from the USS Enterprise spent a bit of their down time last week helping to make improvements to the track at King’s Fork High School.

As well as marking lanes, cleaning and fixing equipment, painting paw prints, mowing and whacking weeds — and cooking lunch on the grill — the volunteers also sorted out the locker room and inventoried uniforms.

The day served as a team-building exercise for the crew members, a chance for them to volunteer in the community and an opportunity to help out a shipmate, Lt. Adrian Young, a Suffolk resident and assistant track coach for the school. For some of the participants, it was a chance to connect with a sport they had enjoyed when they were in high school.

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There are plenty of reasons for folks to hold members of the U.S. Navy in high regard. Even in peacetime, they spend long periods of time away from their families, providing humanitarian assistance to people around the world, training to keep their warfighting skills in top form and projecting America’s military presence as a deterrent to nations that might seek to exploit any seeming weakness.

During the long wars our nation has fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, those men and women have sacrificed much to ensure that our nation remains free, that others can experience similar freedoms and that those who attacked us on 9/11 are punished for their vile and cowardly actions.

Now the people of Suffolk have another, more personal, reason to be grateful.