Town Hall Meeting Addresses Needs of Voluntary Departure Families

Last Updated : 5/11/2011 10:10:45 AM

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- A town hall meeting held at the Navy Lodge aboard Naval Base San Diego (NBSD), April 13, provided military family members who voluntarily departed Japan last month with updates on their situations and addressed their concerns.

Representatives from NBSD Personnel Support Detachment, the School Liaison Office, Fleet and Family Support Center, Navy Housing, the You Are Not Alone (YANA) organization, Child Development Center (CDC) and Command Ombudsman, were on hand to answer questions and offer assistance.

In addition, volunteer Sailors and family members prepared and served food, and provided families with toiletries, school supplies and other needed items. All of the goods were donated by Sailors and their families.

"We asked the community if there was anyone willing to support the families and help make their lives a little better; and the response was incredible," Surface Force Ombudsman Stephanie Du Bose said.

Included in the group of volunteers were Sailors from Littoral Combat Ship Squadron One (LCSRON 1). During the past three weeks, 22 LCSRON 1 Sailors and their chief's Mess have supported the effort through loading and sorting donations, setting-up tables and shopping for the families.

"It is amazing to see these Sailors come together, pool their resources and provide support," said Chief Fire Controlman (SW) Reo Logan of LCSRON 1. "Watching those efforts go to Navy families in need of care and supplies is truly inspiring," he added.

Rosario Lucas and her family spent six years in Yokosuka, Japan. Her husband, Chief Gas Turbine Systems Technician (SW) Joselito Lucas is currently serving on board USS George Washington (CVN 73). Lucas, her 11-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter elected to leave Yokosuka, March 24.

Lucas said bringing her family to San Diego has brought her and her children comfort and a sense of security during this time of uncertainty.

"We were in base housing, on the seventh floor when the earthquake happened," Lucas said. "Then there were the aftershocks. We didn't know what to expect next. We decided to leave, and we feel much safer now."

Currently about 100 families who chose to leave Japan after the earthquake, are living in the Navy Lodge aboard NBSD.

Lucas also praised the Navy Lodge staff, the volunteers and base officials whose efforts have been so helpful to her and the other family members that decided to return to the U.S.

"The staff helps make us very comfortable and being on base, close to the NEX and FFSC is convenient," Lucas said. "People from the base have brought us food and provided us with information when we have questions."

"Taking care of our Sailors and their families is our number one priority," said Navy Region Southwest Command Master Chief Nancy Hollingsworth. "A tremendous joint effort among all the volunteers, base officials, FFSC and nonprofit organizations is what made this successful."

This is the second Town Hall meeting to be held at the NBSD Navy Lodge. The first meeting took place last week.

In addition to the services and resources offered at the Town Hall Meeting, NBSD CDC is offering free child care April 16 and 23, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. NBSD CDC is also offering a 25-passenger shuttle bus to transport families to the NBSD Spring Fling beginning at 8 a.m., April 17.

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