By Roy Mabasa
Nineteen American sailors aboard aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan visited and played with Filipino children at the Home for the Angels orphanage during their port visit in Manila last week.
The sailors took part in a variety of activities with the children, including dancing, playing games and telling them about life in the Navy, the United States Embassy in Manila said in a statement on Wednesday.
“They are very young, but have bright futures,” orphanage director Myrna Verecio said. “We are dedicated to the rescue, protection and nurturing of children, and they really like it when people come to visit them.”
According to Verecio, the orphanage supports infants and toddlers from newborns to two years old – many of whom were abandoned on the streets.
The sailors seemed to enjoy the visit as much as the children did.
Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuel) Airman David Grant from St. Louis, Missouri said the visit gave him an opportunity to play with the kids and learn a little bit more about the culture and the people.
“The kids are instantly open and engaging. They are very young, so they’re full of energy and are very excited to play with new people,” Grant said. “Doing something like this really helps me,” Grant said. “I have a child at home and this kind of makes me feel like I’m spending time with them.”
The orphanage visit was one of the eight community volunteer efforts coordinated by Ronald Reagan’s Command Religious Ministries Department. More than 200 sailors volunteered during the ship’s scheduled five-day port visit.
Ronald Reagan, the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 5, provides a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interests of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region.