KAMPONG VILLAGE, Malaysia - Sailors from the submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS 40) helped to build a new home as part of a Habitat for Humanity Community Service project in the city of Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia Feb. 1 and 2.
“We are honored to have the Sailors here,” said Joanna Kitingan, President of Habitat for Humanity Kota Kinabalu Affiliate. “We are very happy to have so many volunteers from the Navy who have thought to help the community.”
The Religious Ministries Department onboard Cable worked with Habitat for Humanity to put the project together. More than 30 Sailors came out each day to work with a Malaysian family to help build their new home from the ground up.
Kitingan said the house where the family currently lives is about 40 years old and made out of depleted bamboo. There are no real bedrooms and no proper plumbing in the house. The bathroom and the kitchen are separate from the house.
“It was really humbling because we don’t realize how little other people have,” said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Sheraldine Aguon-Hilton. “We got to work hand-in-hand with the family and really see how we were helping them out.”
“The vision of Habitat for Humanity is every human being should have a home they can call their own,” said Kitingan. “Sailors helping to make this a reality for this Malaysian family really touches the heart of the community.”
Local volunteer, Rachel Lok, said, “On normal occasions, it takes about two months to complete these projects. With the help of all the Sailors who volunteered here, it can be completed in less than two weeks.”
“It is very rewarding,” said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Lea Devera. “We have enough days for liberty. Giving one or two days for a COMSERV is not asking too much. Seeing the faces of the Malaysian family who will be living in the house is truly rewarding.”
Sailors were able to interact and have lunch with the family and local volunteers. The Malaysians shared Sabah tea and several traditional dishes. “The food was great,” said Aguon-Hilton. “It really opened up our eyes to other cultures.”
Aguon-Hilton said having the opportunity to spend time with the family, working and eating was a great experience and she would recommend all Sailors get out in the community.
Cable conducts maintenance and support of submarines and surface vessels deployed in the U.S. 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility.