Navy week came to the end of the week as the US Navy departed from New Jersey on Sunday. The group of sailors came out in force to help serve in the communities of New Jersey and raise awareness about the benefits of joining the Navy.
The Navy’s senior executive hosts were Commander Jared Smith, commanding officer, PCU New Jersey, and Cmdr. Evita Salles, deputy director of Women’s policy. During Trenton Navy Week, both executives got involved in community engagements, speaking with local businesses, civic, education, and government leaders.
“I am honored to represent both the Navy and the future USS New Jersey this week in Trenton,” said Smith. “The opportunity for our Sailors to be here and learn more about the Garden State will only enhance the pride felt every day they come to work. We are excited to give back to the communities that support us and provide an opportunity for members of this great state to learn about the Navy and one of her newest submarines.”
Throughout the week, Sailors came to various community events across the area, including working with students across multiple high schools and volunteering for the cities of Trenton and Camden, the Salvation Army, Boys and Girls Club, Rescue Mission Trenton, and Habitat for Humanity.
“We go into these areas to do community outreach… to bring Navy presence to the general public that might not otherwise have that exposure. And that creates goodwill. It creates cooperation and understanding between the military and the civilian population,” Cmdr. Salles said.
Master at Arms Second Class Megan McMenamin and over a dozen of her colleagues volunteered to serve lunch in The Trenton Rescue Mission’s Shelter this week to give back to the community.
“Those we serve, were so grateful to be served by and have conversations with the men and women who are serving our country,” said Niki Graham, Manager of Community Engagement said.
Though they weren’t all strangers, Fire Controlman Second Class and Trenton Native Jacob Gagliardi was in Trenton throughout the week. Friday, he finished working with the Salvation Army’s Canteen through the Trenton Rotary Club.
“It’s nice to see a lot of people coming together doing this. It’s nice to see a lot of people who are really grateful… It feels good to provide,” Gagliardi said.
With him were three other navy personnel who worked with the Canteen hitting stops throughout the city of Trenton. They hit five stops throughout the city of Trenton, feeding 109 meals to residents. Charles S Parkerson, a Volunteer with the Salvation Army, said that they were great workers.
“It was great, anything you wanted done, they jump right in, they were personable, they were pleasant with the crowd, it was great,” Parkerson said.