CHENNAI, India (April 9, 2012) Electrician's Mate 1st Class Jessica Henry spends time with a child at the Nirmala Sishu Bhavan Orphanage and home for special children. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher Farrington)

CHENNIA, India - Thirty Sailors aboard guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97) volunteered at Nirmala Sishu Bhavan Orphanage April 9 during the ship's port visit to Chennai.

Forgoing a day spent out on the town in Chennai, the Sailors chose to spend their time refurbishing the yards of the orphanage and helping to prepare a monument for a statue of Mother Theresa.

“I really enjoyed being able to lend a helping hand to make the orphanage a better place for all those children,” said Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Nathanial Kubacak. “Seeing their smiling faces after they saw the renovations that we did was the best part of my time in Chennai.”

Sailors also used this opportunity to spend time getting to know the children at the orphanage, hoping to establish a strong relationship between the U.S. Navy and the orphanage for years to come.

“The children were so friendly and open to interacting and playing games with us,” said Culinary Specialist Seaman Alexander Kennedy. “We shared a lot of laughs together and it seemed liked they really enjoyed having us there.”

For Gas Turbine System's Technician (Mechanical) 2nd Class Bhupendra Naidu, an Indian American Sailor aboard Halsey, being able to visit and lend a helping hand to local children during his first visit to India was something that he will never forget.

“It was an awesome experience to spend time with the people at the orphanage and around Chennai,” said Naidu. “Being able to learn more about my Indian heritage and help out children that live less fortunately lifestyles was a very rewarding experience for me.”

At the end of the day the sailors were able to completely refurbish three different yard areas, set up a monument for a Mother Theresa statue in the main yard, and left a great lasting impression on the residents and volunteers at the orphanage.

Halsey is participating in Malabar 2012, a regularly scheduled naval field training exercise conducted to advance multinational maritime relationships and mutual securities with India.