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NAS Key West
Chief Selectees Community Clean-Up Project

Chief Selectees Community Clean-Up Project

Pensacola, Fla. More than 50 Chief Petty Officer (CPO) selectees got together to clean up Naval Air Station Pensacola facilities and a stretch of highway along Perdido Key, Florida, August 17.

CPO selectees split into two groups to clean up the landscaping at the NAS Pensacola CPO Club and conduct a clean-up of a two-mile stretch of Perdido Key highway to the Alabama state line.

“Community Relations projects help tie us (the military) with the community,” said Chief Avionics Technician (Select) Heather Healy, a Naval Aviation Technical Training Center instructor. “We make sure we are doing our part and show the community that we support them.”

While picking up trash on the side of the road is not the most glamorous job, the chief selectees that are going through the six-week initiation process are reminded of the importance of paying it forward.

“They see how something as simple as cleaning up a highway can make such a positive impact in the community,” said Senior Chief Legalman Erica Queely, a 2019 CPO initiation lead. “At the same time, we are holding up a standard for our junior Sailor organizations to see us leading by example. If you adopt a highway, you need to put in the work, keep it clean; you give back. We care about where we live and want to make it better.”

Improving the physical appearance of the community is just one benefit of volunteering. According to a 2015 Forbes magazine article, 5 Surprising Benefits of Volunteering, volunteering actually leads to better health. People that volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer.

“We say that the S’ in the USN stands for service. Service to our fellow Chiefs, our country, our junior Sailors and our community,” said Naval Air Station Pensacola Command Master Chief Mario Rivers. “We make it a point to incorporate these community relations project into the initiation process because it is a crucial ingredient into developing a well-rounded chief petty officer and a well-rounded person.”

The chief initiation season will culminate with the CPO pinning scheduled for Sept. 13.

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