U.S. Navy Sailors and Mrs. Keith “Paint the Town”

Volunteers (in yellow) from USS Pinckney at Rumah Ozanam. My wife Jan is fourth from the right. Second from right is Mr. Ivan Christie, of the Rotary Club of Pantai Valley, who coordinated the COMREL activities.

Volunteers from the USS Nimitz posing with children from the Juara Home after a long morning of painting the outside of the home.

USS Nimitz


U.S. Navy sailors from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz and her companion vessel USS Pinckney were ‘painting the town’ in recent days, both figuratively and literally. The supercarrier USS Nimitz pulled into Port Klang on Sunday, February 7, on a scheduled port call, accompanied by the USS Pinckney.  During four days of shore leave, dozens of sailors from the Nimitz and the Pinckney traded their tour maps and cameras for paintbrushes and brooms, to volunteer for community service activities at several homes for children and the elderly in the Klang Valley.  My wife Jan joined them for a day of service at Rumah Ozanam, where they spent a long hot morning painting.   Taking part in community service is a regular thing for U.S. Navy servicemen and women during their time away from home (the Nimitz has been away from its home port of San Diego since July 2009)  Navy personnel do COMREL activities even while in the USA, and global community service and compassion are among U.S. Navy core principles. 

It is easy to be a little cynical and see what they are doing as just “PR.”  But the sharing, caring, and hard work that takes place through COMREL activities mean more than doing some maintenance and playing a little basketball with the kids.  Everyone gets something out of it, especially the sailors, who are often away at sea for long periods, far from family and friends.  Through volunteer work, they learn about the culture and the people of the places they are visiting.  And the hard work they willingly undertake provides welcome assistance for many non-profits.   

Some 4,000 young women and men of the US Navy enjoyed three days of shore leave in KL, and most of them spent at least a few hundred dollars here during their stay.  But several dozens of these servicemen and women gave of their time to scrub floors, wield a paintbrush, and reach out to the local community.  And don’t forget, they have all been at sea and away from home and family for many months.  Thank you.  And thank you also, to the Rotary Club of Pantai Valley for their much-appreciated help in arranging volunteer activities for the crews of the USS Nimitz and USS Pinckney.


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