by Samantha Crisp, Director of Marketing
August brought twenty-two of our finest Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 25 Seabees to the Ventura Townehouse’s monthly Community Appreciation Breakfast in honor of their efforts. Lt. Michael Hall did a fine job coordinating efforts for this Battalion to get here. I would later discover why- they are a self-contained unit that moves quickly and quietly in the background of things. Thanks to resident “Hink” Hinkle, for discovering through a newspaper article where to find them working. I made the call to the job site and Lt. Michael Hall called me back. He made it all so easy.
The Seabee are currently helping construct the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation’s training center in Santa Paula on Wheeler Canyon Road. They have been working on creating a disaster infrastructure, general construction and landscaping for the past three years.
They are participants in the U.S. military’s Innovative Readiness Training program that sends service members to work on civilian projects while training for construction skills. They are trained in combat also.
The Seabee’s arrived to an impressive sunrise Thursday morning. As they arrived resident Irene Olsen played the Navy Seabee song on the piano. Ken Rizza, resident and former Seabee, brought along a cloth with the Seabee Navy insignia on it that he draped over the podium for the visiting Seabee’s. CMI Sutton of the Seabee’s started us out with the Pledge of Allegiance and Otis “Hink” Hinkle, retired Seabee Captain, gave us a little history background of the Seabees.
CM1 Dan Sutton started the program with introductions of the troop and where they are all from and how they all decided to become Seabees. They are from all over the United States. Many of them have served all over the world.
The 20 men and 2 women surprised us by singing their Seabee song – acapella! These fine people gave very moving words as they spoke about their families and duty to. EO2 Williams, a young man, stated he joined on a whim by friends daring him and it was the best decision that he ever made
The residents had a lot to say, too. By a show of hands about 1/3 of the room noted they had served in the military. Clara Jackson, resident, remembered serving the officers by making chili for them. Many residents spoke of family, wives at home and taking care of things while loved ones were away and making sure they were volunteering at the VFW or other military clubs.
These Seabee’s sat amongst each of the resident’s tables making them feel very special even though we were honoring them.
When we asked the Seabees if they would not mind stopping in our Alzheimer’s community-they did not hesitate for one minute to go over to see the retired military there. I have no words to tell you how moved, truly moved, we all felt listening to each of these fine people about their service and dedication to all they take on. I am comforted and inspired that they are here for us and I hope they know we will be here for them-waiting for them to come home and holding down the home front.