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Sailors earn their stripes

POULSBO— Armed with cans of spray paint, a power washer and a bundle of tape and cardboard, a crew of four sailors pitched in to give North Kitsap Fishline a helping hand.

While the Navy has often donated food and other items to the charity, Wednesday’s contribution helped accomplish tasks the food bank would otherwise be unable to get done.

“Our goal today is to redo the entire parking area for them and we’re just doing what we can to help out,” said MMC Tim Edgett, who headed the crew of four from Naval Base Kitsap.

While a number of sailors and Marines from the area participated in the United Way’s Day of Caring, Edgett said he and several other Navy chiefs have taken it upon themselves to remain involved in the local community throughout the year.

“We live here in this area and we want to show the community that we’re here to help,” he explained.

While sailors might not be able to provide large financial contributions, one thing they’re not short on is labor, Edgett noted.

“We’re trying to do things like this once a month and one thing we can provide is lots of free labor,” he said. “We had 30 people volunteer for today’s project, but we only needed four.”

For MR2 Ruben Colon, the day provided yet another opportunity to do something for others in the community.

“The word was put out and people just started volunteering their time,” Colon said, adding that such projects provide opportunities to build relationships between the community and the military.

“I believe it’s always good to be part of the community and do what we can to help,” he noted. “Our community extends beyond the fences of Bangor.”

Seeing the group of sailors volunteering their time brought a big smile to Fishline Executive Director Sharon Kirkpatrick.

“It’s great to see them out here doing what they can to help us,” Kirkpatrick commented as the crew blasted dirt and grime from the parking area.

The Navy has been a strong supporter of the food bank in the past and has continued answering the food bank’s calls for help, she said.

“This is just one example of what they’ve done for us and it’s a relationship that I hope we’ll continue building on,” Kirkpatrick said.

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