Story by American Navy Lieutenant Jamie Moroney, US Naval Support Activity Naples
SANTA MARIA CAPUA VETERE, Italy – The JFC Naples International Club participated in the Naval Support Activity (NSA) Naples First Class Petty Officer Association (FCPOA)-hosted community relations (COMREL) event to clean-up the Capua Amphitheater, Nov. 18.
Volunteers from various area commands and organizations including NSA Naples, Allied Joint Forces Command (JFC) International Club, U.S. Naval Hospital Naples, and other NSA Naples tenant commands came together to collect trash, trim hedges, pull weeds, and assist with other beautification tasks around the ancient Italian historical site.
The event was organized by Master-at-Arms 1st Class Alexander Martinez and Master-at-Arms 1st Class Alejandro Carral, both members of the NSA Naples Security department, on behalf of the NSA Naples FCPOA.
“This COMREL was to enhance the base participation between the many different tenant commands we have here at NSA Naples as well as help preserve history within the local community,” said Martinez. “There’s a lot of history and not enough help at this location to keep it looking as it should; as an Italian treasure.”
The COMREL event lasted for three hours as volunteers bagged refuse and assisted with various gardening tasks at the second-largest Roman amphitheater in the world, second only to the Colosseum in Rome, Italy.
Sandy Blackburn, an active member of the JFC International Club and one of the amphitheater clean-up volunteers, participates in many COMREL events and recognizes the importance in preserving history and finding a connection to the community in overseas duty stations.
“These events are important as they build bridges of cultural understanding,” said Blackburn. “They endorse the message of friendship and show the Italian people how lucky we feel to be able to have the opportunity to listen to their stories and experience their culture whilst living in their country.”
Many service members enjoy volunteering for community events for the cultural ties, history, and the opportunity it gives them to connect with Italians, said Dr. ssa Teresa Merola, the NSA Naples community relations specialist.
“I have been in this position for more than 20 years,” said Merola. “Sailors are always excited to participate in these events and Italians are always happy and very appreciative to see Americans helping the community.”
Martinez looks forward to coordinating future COMREL events, and is always looking for more ways to show appreciation for the local Italian community.
“We as Sailors, Airmen, Soldiers and Marines are all ambassadors to the locations we serve at,” said Martinez. “To me it is important to show the local community that we do care about the locations we serve in and that we also enjoy what each area has to offer. What better way to show that appreciation than to help by cleaning and helping restore historical sites?”
NSA Naples is an operational ashore base that enables U.S., allied, and partner nation forces to be where they are needed, when they are needed to ensure security and stability in Europe, Africa, and Southwest Asia.
SANTA MARIA CAPUA VETERE, Italy – Volunteers from Naval Support Activity (NSA) Naples, Allied Joint Forces Command (JFC) International Club, U.S. Naval Hospital Naples, and other NSA Naples tenant commands pose for a photo during a community relations event organized by the NSA Naples First Class Petty Officers Association at the Capua Amphitheater in Caserta, Italy, Nov. 18, 2019. Volunteers helped to collect refuse and take care of gardening tasks around the property. NSA Naples is an operational ashore base that enables U.S., allied and partner nation forces to be where they are needed, when they are needed to ensure security and stability in Europe, Africa, and Southwest Asia. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Donavan K. Patubo)