June 16, 2006 — Public schools on St. Thomas are getting a jump start on summer maintenance with help from the U.S. Navy. More than 60 sailors from the USS Bataan recently volunteered to paint, move furniture, help with maintenance and more at Addelita Cancryn Junior High School, Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School, Ulla Muller Elementary School, the V.I. Community Cooperative Thoroughbred Retirement Effort and several other places on the island. The sailors were on St. Thomas for a four-day rest-and-relaxation stop.
"They did an excellent job, and I'm sure our teachers will be happy when they come back in August," said Boschulte Middle School Assistant Principal Lamont H. Thomas Sr. Approximately one dozen sailors painted classrooms at the school this week.
Avery Evans, an assistant principal at Cancryn Middle School, echoed Thomas' sentiments. "It was done quite well," she said.
The Bataan is based in Norfolk, Va., and holds 1,200 people, said Port Agent Coleen Combs. The ship's chaplain contacted Combs to set up the volunteer effort, and Combs said she was happy with the number of sailors the ship provided.
This is not the first time Navy personnel have donated community service time to organizations and schools on St. Thomas. Combs said she hopes visiting ships in July will be able to continue the painting and maintenance projects at the schools. Sometimes sailors are busy with other on-island commitments and are unable to help out.
Combs said the schools and other organizations that accepted volunteers were very pleased with the effort.
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