Coast Guard, Navy League celebrates Thanksgiving meal with students in Vieques, Puerto Rico

Coast Guard District 7 NewsSAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Coast Guard Sector San Juan and the U.S. Navy League Vieques Council joined efforts to bring the joy of Thanksgiving to approximately 900 students and their faculties from five public schools Tuesday in Vieques, Puerto Rico.

“Celebrating a Thanksgiving meal with these students is a truly memorable experience for the Navy League and the U.S. Coast Guard,” said Hector Matos, U.S. Navy League Vieques Council President.

Matos said that students are the future of Puerto Rico and that the Navy League, working together with U.S. Coast Guard volunteers, will continue to support the Vieques community and promote many other events like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Boat Station San Juan personnel gathered 40 turkeys and cooking supplies that were purchased through volunteer donations and delivered to the schools Monday in preparation for the event.

“This is the second year we bring Thanksgiving to Vieques students on the island,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Francisco Sanchez, Boat Station San Juan Boastwain’s Mate. “This is a great event, it brings people and communities together and that’s what were all about.”

Sanchez said that in 2010 they were able to support only one school, and through increased volunteer efforts and donations this year, they were able to reach all five public schools in Vieques.

Approximately 50 Coast Guard volunteers consisting of active duty personnel and their families arrived to Vieques Island aboard the island’s passenger ferry Tuesday morning. Upon their arrival, volunteers split into teams to visit each school during their lunch period. Volunteers worked at the school dining facilities serving the Thanksgiving meal to the students and faculty members. They also performed tasks such as washing trays, bussing tables and cleaning floors; leaving everything in order for the dining facility’s next meal the following day.

“We are very pleased that our students could share this special moment with the Navy League and U.S. Coast Guard volunteers and look forward to seeing them again in the near future,” said Yolanda Horta, School Counselor at the German Riekehoff High School.

“I am very happy and grateful that our students were able to receive this Thanksgiving meal,” said Marianela Ventura Comas, Vieques School Dining Facility liaison. “It is a beautiful thing to see a part of our community at work and their effort to bring this special occasion to all the students on the island.”

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