In late August, Navy Yeoman 2nd Class Coryna Houston – who currently is stationed in Naples, Italy, and provides administrative support to the Navy JAG community’s Victims' Legal Counsel (VLC) program – coordinated an extremely successful humanitarian drive for a nearby immigrant family shelter.
She already is coordinating a second humanitarian drive to benefit local residents in need, which she expects to take place January or February 2020.
“I've always been empathetic to those less fortunate than me, as I didn't have much growing up. Lending a helping hand is in my nature,” said Houston. “When I got here to Naples, I learned how poor some people in this town are, and witnessing the poverty – especially of immigrants – was surreal to me.”
Last winter, when attending base chapel services, Houston met Jane Clarke. One Sunday, who solicited donations for a local shelter and passed out a short list of needs. Houston bought every item on the list and more. This opportunity to give back encouraged Houston to orchestrate a larger installation-wide charitable event.
Houston spent the summer collecting in-kind donations and organizing volunteers to provide clothing items, children's toys, school supplies, shoes, hygiene products, first-aid products, non-perishable food items, jewelry, purses, and bed sheets to families in need. She also addressed various logistical challenges, such as coordinating transportation of the collected goods to her chosen beneficiary, The Family Center in Mugnano, Italy.
On Aug. 24, Houston successfully delivered supplies to 76 people – from toddlers to adults – at the shelter.
“I received more items than I hoped for,” said Houston. “It was an overwhelmingly awesome experience and a glorious day. And with the help of Mrs. Clarke, I have already found a second shelter in need.”
In her current assignment, Houston assists VLC throughout Navy Region Europe, Africa, Central. She is located at the Naples Fleet and Family Service Center at Naval Support Activity Naples, where she works alongside VLC Lt. Michael Johnson. Currently, the region’s VLC team is actively representing 30 victims of sexual offenses during various stages in the investigative and court-martial processes. During the past fiscal year, the team represented 34 victims and provided confidential legal advice to 74 victims.
“YN2 Houston built the humanitarian drive from the ground up,” said Lt. Cmdr. Tadd Blair, VLC in Sigonella, Italy. “She recognized the need to help a vulnerable migrant population in Naples and developed a plan to address the need. Working toward her goal for almost a year, YN2 Houston coordinated with multiple stakeholders, both on and off base, motivated other Sailors to participate, and ensured that the event culminated in success.”
“The humanitarian drive is emblematic of YN2 Houston's enthusiasm and compassion,” Blair added. “While we are not at all surprised, this event reminds us of how grateful we are to have her on our team!”