Sailors give back to the Tucson community during Navy Week

Throughout the week, sailors participated in educational and community outreach.
Over 75 sailors from the USS Tucson, Gabrielle Giffords, and John S. McCain participate in community
Published: Feb. 24, 2023 at 11:23 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) -Over 75 sailors from the USS Tucson, Gabrielle Giffords, and John S. McCain, participated in community outreach events across Tucson as part of Navy Week 2023.

Many of the sailors, such as Tucson native Lit. Serra Sandlin was grateful for the opportunity to give back.

“It’s a really amazing opportunity for us to get back to the kind of community that helps build our namesakes of our ships,” said Lit. Searra Sandlin on the USS John S. McCain.

Since February 20, 2023, sailors have spent time around Tucson participating in various educational and community outreach events. Since 2005, the Navy Week program has served as the flagship outreach effort for areas of the country without significant Navy presence.

University of Arizona alumni, Lit. Austin Gooder was grateful for the chance to come back and speak with his former unit on campus.

“I was fortunate enough to go back to the NRCC unit and speak with the Midshipman, kind of give back to my former unit, which is great. Then my sailors from the USS Gabrielle Giffords and we got to go do a beautification progress at make way for books,” said Lit. Austin Gooder on the USS Gabrielle Giffords. So, as a whole, it’s a lot of community service, a lot of community relations, and building the name of the US Navy in Tucson.”

Throughout the week, sailors gave back to the community by engaging with students at local high schools, volunteering with the Boys and Girls Clubs, Ronald McDonald House, the Humane Society, Casa Maria Soup Kitchen, and building homes for Habitat for Humanity Tucson.

“We’ve had a chance to help build houses in Habitat for Humanity, feed the homeless, interact with some of the local schools,” said Commander Robert Burke on the USS Cincinnati.“We got the chance to do a lot of great things like speak at some rotary events and raise awareness of the Navy and some of the lines of effort that we have.”

Even the sailors who are not originally from Tucson or have any association with the city found the week to be just as rewarding as the natives.

“All the events we’ve been to have been really fun and really enjoyable, and a great way to participate with the community,” said Luis Fernandez, a petty first-class. officer on the USS Tucson.

One common consensus among the sailors who participated is that they were given the opportunity and would be grateful to participate in another Navy Week.

“If I get another opportunity. I’m definitely coming back,” said Gunner Savage, a petty second-class officer on the USS Tucson.

Navy Week Tucson continues until February 26, 2023.