Adopt a sailor for Thanksgiving

Make a sailor feel at home on Thanksgiving by “adopting” one for the holiday feast.

North Whidbey Lions Club President Doug Tyler and commanding officer of Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training, Cmdr. Paul Erickson, have teamed up to create the Adopt-a-Sailor program for the holiday.

Tyler said it started out with a casual conversation between the two of them, but now they have some sailors lined up who would like to spend Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25, in a friendly home.

All they need is families to adopt them.

“Commander Erickson was concerned about the quality of life for his new arrivals and the North Whidbey Lions are committed to bridging the gap between the military and the community,” Tyler said.

Working with Petty Officer Brian Dale a plan was formed to establish an Adopt-A-Sailor program to provide what Tyler describes as “a relaxing Thanksgiving Day with families in the local community for new sailors from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.”

These young sailors have transferred from Great Lakes Recruit Training Command (Boot Camp) and have been onboard the station for approximately three weeks.

As a result of hurricane damage inflicted on the training command at Pensacola Naval Air Station, they are among the first to participate in the Navy’s “Sea Warrior Training and Recruiting in Support of Sea Power 21 (STAR21) Program.

This program has taken the place of the traditional “A” School in that sailors will report here direct from boot camp for initial instruction in areas such as avionics, electrical, airframes, and aircraft engines. Upon graduation, they will receive advanced systems training and then transfer to AIMD or squadrons onboard Whidbey Island Naval Air Station.

“There is already a list of sailors that have expressed an interest in being ‘adopted’ and have signed on to the program,” Tyler said. “Now we need families that are willing to invite them into their homes. This is a great opportunity, not only for our young sailors, but also for the local community.”

Transportation can be provided and Cmdr. Keith Wooldridge of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7392 has volunteered the post to serve as a staging area for sailors and families to meet.

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