Saturday, June 25, 2011

Dr. Biden Thanks Sailors for Service, Sacrifice

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 24, 2011 – Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, today visited with military members serving aboard the USS Ramage that’s anchored off the southern coast of Greece.

Biden is in Greece to lead the U.S. delegation at the Special Olympics in Athens.

“I am looking forward to watching the games and cheering the incredible athletes,” she said in her prepared remarks. “But I never miss a chance to visit with members of the military and their families, so I was thrilled when Secretary [of the Navy Ray] Mabus invited me to spend time with you here on the USS Ramage.”

Biden used the opportunity to reassure the sailors that their loved ones are thinking about them and anticipating their return.

“I am inspired by all of you. And I am inspired by your families,” she said. “Whether they are your wives or girlfriends, your moms and dads, your children or your grandparents -- they all think about you every day. And they await your safe return home.”

The USS Ramage, commanded by Navy Cmdr. Erik J. Eslich, deployed last month from Naval Station Norfolk, Va. The destroyer, and its 250 crew members, operates in the Sixth Fleet area of responsibility, where it provides deterrence and humanitarian and disaster response as necessary, promotes peace and security, and preserves freedom of the seas.

Biden, whose son had deployed to Iraq with the Delaware National Guard, also let the group know they have advocates working tirelessly to ensure the American public doesn’t forget them or their families.

“I know that you cannot focus on your job here unless you know your families back home are taken care of,” she said.

Biden said she and first lady Michelle Obama are “working hard to make sure the country understands what you do. And we are encouraging individuals, groups and businesses to join forces with us to support you and your families.

“The first lady and I are spreading the word to all Americans that everyone can play a part in making our military families feel appreciated and supported,” Biden added.

As Biden finished her remarks, she thanked the military members for their service to the nation.

“On behalf of the president, the first lady, my husband Joe and myself, I want to thank you for your service and your sacrifice. The work that each and every one of you does is critical to our national security,” she said.

“You and your families make us proud -- and I am honored to have the chance to visit with you today.”

CNIC Helps National Community as Feds Feed Families

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Monique K. Hilley, Commander, Navy Installations Command Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC), in partnership with the Department of Defense, has joined the nationwide effort known as "Feds Feed Families," June 23.

"We are moving forward as a team doing what we can to help others," said Capt. James Fisher, CNIC Chaplain Corps, director, Strategic Plans and Programming.

The Feds Feed Families Food Drive Campaign encourages federal employees to bring nonperishable food items to their offices for distribution to local food banks.

CNIC Force Chaplain, Capt. Jack Lea, serves as the national chaplain, while the chaplains at the region and installation levels will serve as coordinators with local organizational representatives and lead the call for donations.

"Members of the U.S. Navy have always responded in a time of need or crisis. Chaplains and religious program specialists, by their very profession and calling, are individuals who have great sensitivity for the needs of other people in times of need or crisis," said Fisher.

The federal goal is to collect two million pounds of food, with Department of Defense setting a collection goal of 733,800 pounds of food distributed to local food banks worldwide.

Food banks are most in need of donations during the summer months, when other donations are traditionally lower. Last year, Feds Feed Families raised 1.7 million pounds of food during the summer months, far exceeding its goal of 1.2 million pounds.

In the National Capital Region, food will be donated to the Capital Area Food Bank, which serves more than 700 food pantries, soup kitchens and other service organizations in the District of Columbia, Virginia and Maryland. Chaplains at the region and installation levels will coordinate with food banks in their areas to ensure delivery of all donated nonperishable items.

The campaign will run June 1 through Aug. 30, with boxes being picked up June 29, July 27 and Aug. 31.

"In this era of fiscal austerity, it is no secret that members of our national community have need of our support regarding basic nutritional requirements. Chaplains and religious program specialists, working in conjunction with their command shipmates, are determined to make a difference in meeting the needs of others this summer," said Fisher.

Feds Feed Families is an Office of Personnel Management (OPM) initiative which has requested DoD support during its third annual campaign due to the impact of a series of natural disasters on our nation which have depleted charitable resources in response to significant demand signals. This is the first year DoD is participating in the campaign.

"American families should never have to go hungry," said OPM Director John Berry. "Federal workers are big-hearted people who are eager to help those in their communities who need it most. Together, we hope to collect two million pounds of food nationwide this summer."

This year's theme is "Feeding Families one Fed at a Time."

This initiative is a response to the "United We Serve Act," signed by President Barack Obama in April 2009, calling for all Americans to contribute to the nation's economic recovery by serving their communities.