By Lt. Bobby Walsh, Region Legal Service Office Southeast
This past October marked Region Legal Service Office Southeast (RLSO SE) community relations (COMREL) month. Each office participated in an array of events to better their surrounding communities. These COMREL events ranged from celebrating the Navy Birthday at a retirement home to helping build and renovate affordable homes. RLSO SE’s top priority is service – not just to the commands, Sailors, retirees and family members we assist, but also to the surrounding community. In addition to dozens of RLSO SE personnel volunteering within their communities, this was an opportunity for the command to partake in these activities together to build camaraderie and morale. RLSO SE participated in the following activities:
Jacksonville/Mayport/ Kings Bay: Members spent a day helping build homes for Habitat for Humanity of Jacksonville (Habijax). They installed siding, laid sod for yards, and organized the Habijax warehouse. The team did not let the hot Florida sun deter them. One member stated “it’s really remarkable how much good can be accomplished when a caring group of volunteers work together as a team.”
Gulfport: Members spent time at the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Gulfport, escorting residents and helping them celebrate the Navy’s birthday.
Pensacola: Members provided lunch for 40 people at the Ronald McDonald house. One member stated “the best part was watching the children grab the cookie bags with smiles on their faces!”
New Orleans: Members took time to help restore a WWII era anti-aircraft gun at the Louisiana Medal of Honor Park and Museum. They stripped, brushed, and repainted the relic back to pristine condition.
Fort Worth: Members volunteered at the Tarrant Area Food Bank’s (TAFB) Learning Garden located in Fort Worth. Personnel hand-watered plants, harvested vegetables, and assisted with composting in support of the TAFB’s mission to provide meals to those in need through local charity organizations. The TAFB Learning Garden also provides volunteers and the local community traditional and non-traditional gardening experience and advice. Various types of alternative irrigation and planting methods were explained during the visit. The most enjoyable part of the experience was getting outside and enjoying the great weather while helping those in need.
Guantanamo Bay: Members spent their Halloween morning cleaning a nearby beach. This particular beach’s southern face serves as a net for trash coming ashore. By the end of the day, they were able to fill up five bags of trash despite the triple digit heat and humidity.
Corpus Christi: Members supported USO South Texas, the second oldest USO office in the nation, at its annual Lobster Tail & Ale celebration on board the decommissioned USS Lexington (CV-16). The event was a celebration with the local community to show military appreciation and support.
Millington: Members visited the St. Jude Target House to help put up fun filled Halloween decorations. The Target House provides long-term lodging for patients that will be in treatment for more than 90 days. This provides the patient and their family an apartment-style housing option and allows them to focus solely on their treatment and recovery rather than finding a hotel to stay in or having to make the decision for one parent to stay and one parent to go home.