SIU Philanthropy Continues Worldwide


February 2014


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Both at sea and ashore, Seafarers spent time during the winter holidays brightening the season for others.


SIU members, officials and employees teamed up for several charitable endeavors from coast to coast and overseas. Those efforts included annual toy drives in Tacoma, Wash., and Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; a shipboard Christmas party hosted by the USNS Wheeler for Korean orphans; donations gathered on the USNS Dahl, USNS Charlton and USNS Soderman to buy gifts and provide other support for needy individuals in Saipan; and an individual Seafarer’s participation in a motorcycle ride for a children’s hospital in Tacoma.


Through a charity called Santa’s Castle benefiting the families of enlisted military personnel, Tacoma-area Seafarers continued their tradition of generosity by donating more than $7,000 worth of toys.


“The members outdid themselves this year,” said SIU Port Agent Joe Vincenzo. “Fifteen bicycles were donated along with a dozen or more watches and musical instruments including several electronic keyboards, guitars and drums for the older kids. Members also brought in remote-controlled cars and helicopters, board games, books, dozens of dolls and so much more.”


He added that on Dec. 11, the Tacoma hall hosted a holiday celebration attended by military members, Santa’s Castle President Lisa Bennett and Vice President Anita Vargo, Crowley Maritime personnel (who also donated to the cause), SIU members, retirees, their families and friends.


“This is a way Seafarers join together and give thanks to our men and women in uniform for their service,” Vincenzo said.


He concluded by noting that many volunteers “deserve mention for menu planning and portioning, shopping, setup, serving and teardown: Administrative Assistant Brenda Flesner, Recertified Steward Brian Burchett, Chief Cook Charlie Atkins, Chief Cook Mary Maddox and Recertified Steward Tom Belvin. Charlie Atkins’ contribution in particular was invaluable.”


Meanwhile, Seafarers and officers from the TOTE-operated USNS Wheeler on Dec. 21 put together a Christmas party for approximately 50 orphans at the Sung Ae Won Orphanage in Busan, South Korea, reported vessel master Capt. Glenn Macario.


“The crew raised over $1,900 to buy presents and host a pizza and ice cream party for the children living at Sung Ae Won,” Macario said in a message to the Seafarers LOG. “The generosity and dedication of the SIU members of the crew of the Wheeler cannot be overstated. They are truly professional sailors and upstanding citizens…. All SIU crew contributed to the success of the party and all should be commended for their spirit and generosity. Because of their efforts, the children of Sung Ae Won experienced the true meaning of Christmas.”


Seafarers aboard the Wheeler include Bosun Lawrence Richardson, AB Ronald Whitlow, AB Jesse Sunga, AB Tony Olaya, AB Dannal Williams, QMED Jasper McGirt, Wiper Chis Van Hoose and Cook Robert Maschmeier.


Additionally, crew members and officers from the Ocean Ships-operated Dahl, Soderman and Charlton took part in a charity event Dec. 21 on Saipan involving the Guma Esperansa Women’s Shelter, a local Catholic organization that assists women and children. They presented the shelter with $1,000 worth of toys for 80 children, tickets to a local dinner magic show, and more than $5,300 in cash.


Back in the States, SA Thomas Curley took part in a motorcycle ride in Tacoma on Nov. 30 to benefit Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital. The annual event is organized by the Destination Harley-Davidson dealership. This year’s ride featured more than 100 motorcycles.


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