Sunday, March 3, 2013

Dedicated to the community

Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 2nd Class Adam Baez

Community service has sort of grown to become a passion of mine. It’s always something I wanted to do but never had time to do. It really kicked off when Nimitz was in dry dock in 2011. Since then I’ve just been on a roll with it. I enjoy doing it. It’s good to see the others who volunteer with me at different events enjoying the same things that I’m doing. The people that we’re volunteering to help enjoy having us there as much as we enjoy being there.
My first actual volunteer event with the ship was a week-long event at the Kitsap Rotary Club garage sale. My mentor at the time convinced me to go. It was at the point where I was thinking about becoming an officer.
He was rounding me out to become a better applicant, and it kind of developed me to become a better person.
It’s not something that I ever thought about doing before the Navy. Volunteering on a weekend? I’m not doing that. That’s was sort of my attitude. Before I really started volunteering, I’d sign up for these events, and I’d say “yeah, I’m going to do it.” But I’d never follow through. There are other people like that, which is fine. It’s a step. It’s better than not trying. But once you get past the initiation stage and actually commit to doing it, you open yourself to new experiences.
Once I built relationships with the establishments that we volunteer for, I was doing it all on my free time. I guess a prime example of my dedication to do this is I’m TAD (temporary assigned duty) right now to security. I don’t really do anything on our work days so that it doesn’t conflict with my schedule here on the ship.
I’m sacrificing my free time to come in on my days off and coordinate these events-- not just for myself, but for anyone who wants to be a part of it.
If you volunteer for something like Habitat for Humanity, you’re probably going to build a house. You know you’re going to have a hard day’s work. People may be deterred from that. Especially coming from a ship where people work throughout the day. The events that I like to coordinate are different. I have a good variety. We’re not doing so much hard physical labor per say, but we are spending the time and doing something fun with a group.
A lot of times I hear that people don’t know about events and things to do. That’s why I provide this information to them. I have a distribution list of people I email when there are events coming my way. When we were on RIMPAC, I actively searched for a volunteer opportunity in Hawaii. We ended up volunteering at a food bank. When I found that, I thought it was a good opportunity, but, it’s Hawaii. Who’s going to want to volunteer? But people did. That in itself, knowing that it’s more than just me going out and sponsoring these kinds of things, makes it a good experience for me.
People have their own drives and reasons to volunteer, you know, it could be just for the [Military Outstanding Volunteer Service] medal, which at first was maybe one of my goals as well. But once it steered away from that direction and I wasn’t just volunteering to get the hours, it became something I really enjoy doing.
I’ve made friends through volunteering. A lot of people involved know each other and get along well. I think it’d be a good opportunity for someone who’s new to the ship or just anyone who wants to meet new people and make new experiences. If you volunteer, you’re going to be working with others volunteers, you may gain a friendship from it; a mess decks buddy to hang out and eat with, you know, something like that. It is a big command and people don’t know a lot of people.
It’s been more than a year since dry dock, and I’m still actively volunteering. I hope it’ll continue when I get out of the military. I recently got married, we might have kids, and I’m looking to get into law enforcement. Finding time will be difficult, but I’ll never forget the experiences I’ve created here. 

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