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USS Avenger Sailors Volunteer At Malaysian Orphanage

09 May 2011

From Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class Brian A. Stone

Crew members took part in community service activities May 6, at the Bukit Harapan home in Kota Kinabalu.

KOTA KINABALU, Malaysia (NNS) — Sailors aboard USS Avenger (MCM 1) participated in community service activities May 6, at the Bukit Harapan home for disabled and disadvantaged children in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.

Avenger Sailors played with children and cleared out a rotting wooden structure from the orphanage playground. Avenger's visit to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia is intended to foster growing relationships between the U.S. Navy and local citizens.

"This kind of volunteering is why I joined the Navy," said Mineman 3rd Class Matt Miller. "I've always liked helping people. I know it sounds cheesy, but it's true. This is what it's all about."

The event started off with the children singing "It's A Small World After All" to the Sailors. Once the children finished singing, the Sailors split up into two groups, one group stayed and played with the children, and the other group helped remove the rotted structure in the orphanage playground.

"It was a great chance for us to help less fortunate individuals," said Chief Mineman David Fuhrman. "After being underway for a while, this was a great change of pace for the crew. All of them got the chance to relax and play with the kids."

Avenger Sailors could be seen all over the orphanage drawing pictures with children, playing basketball and helping them on swing sets. Jane Blanch, a volunteer at Bukit Harapan, said it was nice to see the children enjoying themselves.

"It's good to see the children interacting with other people. I think it's good. I think it's good for people to see how people in other parts of the world live, the reality of these children's lives, and it's good to see the children enjoying the interaction," said Blanch.

Once the children and Sailors were tired from playing all morning, the Sailors packed into their vans as the children waved goodbye. Miller was one of the last Sailors heading back to the van when a few children ran up to give him a hug.

"It's hard to leave," said Miller. "This was a lot more fun than any regular day in the Navy."

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