PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (Sept. 28, 2017)—NAS Patuxent River took three top honors in the Naval District Washington (NDW) Community Service Program of the Year awards in the categories of Personal Excellence Partnership; Health, Safety and Fitness; and Environmental Stewardship.
Personal Excellence Partnership
From across the installation, 504 military and civilian volunteers spent nearly 5,000 hours boosting the self-esteem of southern Maryland's students—pre-K through 12th grade—and assisting them in reaching personal goals while achieving success in the areas of academics, healthy lifestyles, and civic responsibility through tutoring, mentorship and providing technical expertise.
Volunteers performed duties as varied as Career Day presentations, reading books, tours of Pax River, participation in field day activities and sporting events, grounds clean-up programs, book fairs, individual mentoring and tutoring, or simply joining students for lunch.
NAWCAD has education partnership agreements in place with local schools that allow its Educational Outreach Office (EOO) to bring real world naval applications to students and their classrooms, providing them with exposure to naval facilities, scientists and engineers.
The EOO reported 74 events including 49 tours, two lab days, two speaker events, and four weeklong Engineering Exploration Experience camps, which consisted of hands-on activities, tours and a panel of professionals who spoke about their career fields.
According to Independent Sector—a leadership network for nonprofits, foundations and corporate giving programs—the estimated dollar value of volunteer time in 2017 was $23.63 per hour. This places the value of Pax River's volunteer time in local schools at more than $117,000.
Health, Safety and Fitness
Contributing to an active and fit lifestyle for all ages within the local community, 365 military and civilian personnel contributed more than 2,000 hours by participating in numerous events such as walks/runs, health fairs, school and community fitness days, Special Olympics in both Southern Maryland and Washington, D.C., and various other sporting competitions.
Other community needs and requests contributing to the well-being and safety of the community were addressed through volunteer involvement in the Combined Federal Campaign, county and local neighborhood revitalization and outreach committees, and various community meetings. While many activities are planned in advance, Pax River remains well known for supplying volunteers for last minute needs identified through community requests.
Pax River Environmental Division personnel—comprising fish and wildlife biologists, foresters, archaeologists, environmental engineers, geologists, chemists and hydrogeologists—provided over 1,100 volunteer hours of educational assistance to St. Mary's and Calvert county residents and students.
Their myriad programs, classes, exhibits and special activities—conducted both on station and off—not only educate but encourage environmental protection and demonstrate how the Navy preserves and protects the natural and cultural resources entrusted to its care.
Outreach subject matter experts covered diverse topics such as Pax River's natural and cultural resources, the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem, forestry, outdoor safety, animal habitats, Maryland history, archaeology, pollution prevention, and recycling. Special environmental celebrations held aboard Pax included Earth Day, Arbor Day and International Migratory Bird Day.
Environmental Division staffers also contribute their time by serving on committees and boards within the community that focus on conservation, preservation and restoration.
"In my 25 years in the Navy, I have never seen stronger community relations than Pax River has with the people of Southern Maryland," said NAS Patuxent River Commanding Officer Capt. Jason Hammond. "Our synergy with the local community is critical to the research, development, test, and evaluation mission of the installation. That is why I am especially proud of the exceptional volunteer efforts of the men and women of Pax River. Their dedication and service are just one small way we can say thank you to this wonderful community."
Pax River also received honorable mention in the Project Good Neighbor category which recognized volunteerism and humanitarian assistance.
As an NDW regional winner, Pax River now advances to the Navywide competition for the USS Bainbridge Award, presented to the one Navy command that exhibits overall excellence in community service.