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USS Boxer Connects with Kids in Philippines

20 September 2013

From Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kenan O'Connor

Sailors and Marines visited a special education center in Olangapo City, Sept. 18, spending time with children and bring gifts of medical supplies and soccer balls.

OLANGAPO CITY, Philippines - A group of nearly two-dozen Sailors and Marines attached to the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) participated in a Community Service Project (COMSERV) in Olangapo City, Philippines Sept. 18th.

The Sailors and Marines brought basic medical supplies and soccer balls to children at the Center for Special Education, Association for Differently Abled Persons (ADAP), a local school for children with mental and physical disabilities ranging from deafness to cerebral palsy.

"It was a great experience for all of us," said Cpl. Tim Warren, a participant in the COMSERV. "I was able to see the smile on the kids faces when we came in and played with them, and that is what made it worth it for me."

After the Sailors and Marines arrived to the school, the children performed a series of musical and dance numbers to show their guest that although they are mentally and physically disabled they are still able to do every day activities.

"Some of these kids have had nothing but a bad life while growing," said Emilia Sanchez, the president of the Center for Special Education, ADAP. "Some don't have parents, and some don't have any money. So it means so much to the kids to be able to know that there are people out there that are always willing to help them."

Once the students were done showing off their talents, the Sailors and Marines took them outside the school to play with the new soccer balls that they supplied to the school.

"This wasn't just about us helping the local community," said Religious Programs Specialist Seaman Jay Rhone. "It was about us giving to those in need, and them giving back to us. I know that all the Sailors and Marines came away from this with an entirely new perspective."

Boxer is currently deployed in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts as part of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group.

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