Seafarers Pitch in with Typhoon Relief


September 2015


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Members of both the SIU and the Seafarers-affiliated American Maritime Officers (AMO) recently volunteered for cleanup efforts at an elementary school in Saipan following a devastating typhoon that struck Aug. 2-3.


The mariners came from the USNS Pfc. Dewayne T. Williams, a prepositioning ship operated by Maersk Line, Limited for the U.S. Military Sealift Command. At least two other Seafarers-crewed ships – the USNS Soderman and USNS Charlton, both operated by Patriot – also mobilized as part of the formal relief effort.


For at least one mariner from the Williams, the typhoon literally hit close to home. Chief Engineer Don Baetge lives in Saipan, and he organized the volunteer effort at the grade school.


“The typhoon caused pretty widespread damage,” said Bosun Brian Guiry of the Williams. “With no electricity and limited local resources, one of the local Montessori elementary schools was faced with a quite a challenge clearing the grounds of fallen trees and repairing damage to the classroom buildings.


“A particular point of pride for me aboard the Williams is how well the three different departments work together on a daily basis, and this was no exception,” he continued. “The excellent SIU steward department packed a meal and snacks for us, and both AMO and SIU personnel from the deck and engine departments worked together to cut, haul away and then burn fallen tree limbs, as well as help repair water and electric lines.”


Guiry added that more worked remained, and the mariners planned to return “in the near future to continue giving back to the shoreside community that our crews call home for four months at a time.”


Seafarers pitching in ashore included Guiry, ABs Christopher Dionio and Vlad Bendus, STOSs Caliph Johnson and Ahmed Al-Arashi, QMEDs Freddie Malbas, Morris Jeff and Rolando Romanillos, Storekeeper Joss Zolina and GUDE Walid Nasser. The AMO contingent included Baetge, 1st AE Clark Deloach, 3rd AE William Dickey and Electronics Tech Richard Felkey.

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