Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command

NAVFAC Southeast Military Support Jacksonville's 'Week of Valor'

11/20/13 12:00 AM

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southeast active duty military visited local classrooms Nov. 12 and 13 as part of the City of Jacksonville's 'Week of Valor.'

Naval Station (NS) Mayport Public Works Officer Cmdr. Phillip Lavallee spoke to 40 4th graders at Arlington Heights Elementary Nov. 12.

"I spoke to the kids about the history of Veteran's Day and what Veterans Day means to me," said Lavallee. "I also explained to them the reasons why I joined the Navy and the importance of learning, listening and staying out of trouble if they wanted to consider a career in the Navy when they grew up."

Lavallee said the children asked more questions than he had time to answer. "Overall it was a great experience and I think the kids enjoyed the discussion," he said.

Senior Chief Steelworker Jose Torres, NAVFAC Southeast senior enlisted advisor, spoke to about 50 5th grade students Nov. 12 at Ortega Museum Magnet Elementary School just north of Naval Air Station Jacksonville.

"The Week of Valor is always a great opportunity to get out and talk with children about what we do in the military," said Torres. "I really am honored that schools take time out of their busy curriculum to spend some time with Seabees, Sailors, Marines, Airman and Soldiers. It is exciting to know that the children are very interested in what we do for our nation."

"The kids were very engaged," said Torres. "I could tell they were anxious to ask questions. They made me smile and realize that this is why we enjoy making sacrifices for them - to be able to be kids and to get a great education."

The next day, Nov. 13, NS Mayport Commodity Manager Lt. j.g. Stephen Baker spoke to roughly 150 7th grade children at Mayport Middle School.

"I started my comments by speaking about my background and career thus far and my experience at the U.S. Naval Academy," said Baker. "I then fielded a lengthy series of questions about life on submarines and at the Naval Academy and finished with a discussion about what we do at NAVFAC.

Baker enjoyed talking to the children about Veterans Day and being thankful for what others do for our freedoms.

"It was a really good experience," said Baker.

The city-wide 'Week of Valor' celebration saluted the sacrifice and service of military service men and women. The list of educational, patriotic, community and civics events that took place during the week also included a Military Appreciation Luncheon, a Salute to Veterans 5K run, the annual Veterans Day Parade, a Veterans Housing Convention, and a Jacksonvile Jaguars game dedicated to honoring the military.

Jacksonvilles' goal for hosting the series of events for active duty, reservists and veterans, is to showcase Jacksonville as the most military-friendly city in the country.

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