LAEM CHABANG, Thailand - During the ship's four-day visit to Thailand, USS Germantown (LSD 42) crew members took time from touring the famous resort city and spent a day with children at the Abundant Life Home (ALH) Feb. 22.
The visit, planned, organized and coordinated by the Germantown’s Command Chaplain Lt. Cmdr. Paul Kim, was a community service project (COMSERV) that connected the children, infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), with nearly 50 Germantown Sailors and Marines.
The group donated food supplies, a sport equipment and guitars they bought coming from a fund raised from their personal cost.
“This is a great opportunity for the Navy and Marine Corps to come together and do work something positive for the community,” said Marine Capt. Rich Yudt, assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), “after hearing about this COMSERV, it inspired many of us, so we took advantage to reach out of these new people.”
During the day, half of the volunteer group spent time indoors, interacting with the children through music and games, while the rest of the team assisted in helping at the annex building construction efforts at the establishment. Though the service members and the children of the orphanage spoke different languages, neither let verbal communication hinder the day’s events.
“We do all our means that we need to do to get our words and communicate with the children,” said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Ronnie Magbitang, “language with the children wasn’t an issue. It was a reminder that our smile can be a better communicator than the voice.”
Germantown’s visit to Thailand is in conjunction with the completion of her recent participation in Cobra Gold 2011, a joint and coalition multinational exercise hosted annually by the Kingdom of Thailand.