Blue Ridge, Philippine Sailors rehab
Trichet Learning Center
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class
Tucker M. Yates, USS Blue Ridge Public Affairs
MANILA, Philippines – Nearly 20
Sailors from USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) and U.S. 7th Fleet staff with
embarked Marines and Seabees teamed up with Seabees from the
Philippine Navy for a community service project at Manila's Trichet
Learning Center Feb. 10.
“We all came here today to build the kids some shelves, tables and
chairs and other things to make their classroom atmosphere more
comfortable,” said Ensign Jeff Chewning. “I'm proud of our efforts.
We all worked together to make this school better for these kids.
Their parents may not be able to afford to send them to a more
expensive facility, but they deserve the best and that's what we
tried to create for them.”
Sister Irene Chateauvert founded the center because there were no
services for special children, other than private institutions which
cost too much for most families. Over the years it grew from an all
volunteer staff to hired specialists including physical and
occupational therapists, psychologists, and special education
“I feel that it's important to give back to those who are less
fortunate or have a harder life than we do,” said Aerographer's Mate
1st Class Tyler Mello. “I take pride in the Navy and knowing that we
do things like this to help other people. Hopefully this makes their
day brighter and their smile wider.”
The joint U.S. and Philippine Navy effort brought smiles and was
appreciated by the staff and volunteers from the Center.
“It makes me feel fantastic to see the two navies working together,”
said Stephanie Craw, a volunteer from the United States Embassy
Club. “To see people working like this together is so good for me
and for the recipients. This makes me proud to be an American, and
I'm just so happy that we're doing this for the children.”
While the Sailors and Marines were working hard to make the school a
better place to learn, the children of Trichet Learning Center
worked equally hard to show their appreciation. When Commander, U.S.
7th Fleet, Vice Adm. Doug Crowder arrived at the school, the
students performed a Navy-themed dance and cheerleading routine that
wrapped up with the youngest children holding up signs forming the
words, “THANK YOU.”
“The kids seemed really happy that we were here and I think that
they will enjoy all the things that we made for them,” said Hospital
Apprentice Richard Drake. “Projects like this basically bring people
from two different sides of the world together and make them realize
that they can help each other.”
Blue Ridge is commanded by Capt. Jeff Bartkoski and serves under
Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7/Task Force (CTF) 76,
the Navy’s only forward-deployed amphibious force. Blue Ridge is the
flagship for Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet. Task Force 76 is
headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan, with an
operating detachment in Sasebo, Japan.
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