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PORT ORCHARD, Wash. (NNS) — With hammers and saws in hand, Sailors from operations department aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) volunteer to build homes for families as part of Kitsap Housing in Port Orchard.

These Sailors, from operations information division, head out to Port Orchard every Friday and help construct single family and eco-friendly homes. While there, Sailors help by installing drywall, painting, putting up frames, laying concrete and landscaping.

“There are a thousand things Sailors can be doing; some good and some bad,” said Chief Operations Specialist Jessie Quarterman, from Cordele, Georgia. “Knowing they are helping and giving back to the community is an amazing feeling. It’s great knowing these Sailors are able to give a family a place to go to find comfort. A place to live. A home.”

The division started with eight Sailors volunteering, but now the entire division attends weekly.

“These Sailors go above and beyond when they come out,” said Kerry Perez, a homeowner at Kitsap Housing. “They don’t have to come out here and help us but you can really see in their hearts that they enjoy coming out here to help. I can’t thank them enough. We really appreciate all they do out here.”

Since its formation in 1982, Kitsap Housing has been helping low-income families construct and afford single family homes in 18 different communities. They have assisted in the construction of over 900 homes and plan on assisting more than 60 families over the next two years.

“It’s nice to volunteer as a department and go out to build homes for people who can’t necessarily afford one out right,” said Operations Specialist 2nd Class Jacob Shaw, from Dunwoody, Georgia. “It’s so rewarding to take some of our time when we aren’t busy to give back to everyone around us. But not only that, the most rewarding part is to see the work come to fruition, like the roof we put up today. Seeing that and knowing you did it with your own hands to help someone is amazing.”

After each day, the homes are closer to being finished and the communities are a bit closer to being complete. More importantly, families are just that much closer to having homes. However, as they start to move in, another family breaks ground to work on their new home, and the Sailors are there ready to lend a helping hand.

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