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LAWNDALE, Calif. (NNS) - Wielding hammers, saws, trowels, and drills, 25 Sailors from the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) and the mine countermeasures ship USS Champion (MCM 4) volunteered with Habitat for Humanity to make two families' dreams of living in safe, affordable housing come true, July 26.
Erin Hale, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Greater L.A., thanked the Sailors for their skill and professionalism in working alongside her team.
"We're very excited that the Navy's out here because we know that not only have these Sailors given tremendous service to our nation, they've also done a lot of service and humanitarian aid while they're out at sea. The fact that while they're here in Los Angeles at the port, that they're spending time with Habitat for Humanity means so, so much to us," she said.
Candy Royce is scheduled to move into one of the homes around Thanksgiving, along with her mother and three adopted children. She was honored to have Navy volunteers help build her new home and encouraged Sailors to leave messages on the unfinished walls.
Although the notes will eventually be covered with drywall, Royce is collecting photographs of the faces and writings of everyone who has worked on her home.
"Almost everyone writes messages on the walls," she said. "They have some funny things that they say and some very sincere things. And I can say this house was built with love."
With instruction from regular Habitat for Humanity volunteers called "Rusty Nails," Sailors framed porches, built stairs, added trusses, put stucco on walls, and performed electrical work.
Lincoln Aviation Maintenance Administrationman 2nd Class Rockie Johnson enjoyed the chance to make a difference in the community.
"We're helping good people out here; a good family," he said. "I wasn't too fortunate before coming in, and to give to someone else that's not, it's just [satisfying]."
Navy Week is an opportunity for the officers and crew of the visiting ships to help the Navy showcase the quality of its personnel to local citizens. Lincoln's participation in L.A. Navy Week will demonstrate to area leaders and the general public that the Navy remains an effective and vital tool of national defense and a viable career opportunity for young men and women.
The Navy conducts approximately 20 Navy Weeks each year, reaching out to communities across the country to showcase for Americans the investments they have made toward their national defense.
Participating in L.A. Navy Week 2011 are Lincoln, Champion, guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59), guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee (DDG 90), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, and personnel from Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9, Maritime Expeditionary Security Group (MESG) 31, Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron (MSRON) 3 and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Unit 1.
The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group is in Los Angeles between at-sea training and certification periods ahead of a deployment scheduled for the end of the year.