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Kitty Hawk sailors help make ‚‘nests’ for local residents

Sailors from the USS Kitty Hawk volunteered to work on three homes in Bremerton for Habitat for Humanity of Kitsap County. - Kyle D. Gahlau courtesy photo
Sailors from the USS Kitty Hawk volunteered to work on three homes in Bremerton for Habitat for Humanity of Kitsap County.
— image credit: Kyle D. Gahlau courtesy photo

Eighteen USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) sailors helped Habitat for Humanity of Kitsap County work on three homes in Bremerton Tuesday.

The international non-profit Christian housing ministry works to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness. The organization has built more than 250,000 houses around the world for one million people, according to Habitat’s Web site.

Sailors split up in teams and tackled projects such as digging ditches for electrical cables, installing blinds, putting in pipes for kitchen sinks and placing drywall.

Master Chief Machinist’s Mate Michael Gwinn organized Kitty Hawk’s involvement.

“We have been great ambassadors around the world and now it’s time to bring it home and show the local community what we can do,” he said.

Kitty Hawk operated from Japan for nearly a decade and its sailors have taken part in community relations projects in countries in Asia and Australia.

The ship is in Bremerton preparing for decommissioning. Getting away from the ship and into their new community is something sailors said they wanted to do.

“This is the first time I’ve ever helped build a home and it beats sitting at a desk all day,” said Yeoman Seaman Matthew Jackson, an administrative specialist on the ship.

The majority of the Kitty Hawk sailors said they have little or no experience with construction, but Habitat for Humanity appreciated their help all the same.

“Habitat for Humanity is about engaging people in the local community and giving them opportunity to learn new skills,” said Willy Winter, construction manager for Habitat for Humanity of Kitsap County.

“We regularly receive help from retired military and guys from the (USS Emory S.) Land and the (USS John C.) Stennis and we look forward to seeing what the Kitty Hawk will bring,” he said.

Habitat for Humanity has been active in Kitsap County since 1992, providing housing for 40 families. They also provide financial education and more on home ownership to other area residents. Kitty Hawk arrived in Puget Sound Naval Shipyard on Sept. 2. It is expected to decommission in late January 2009.

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