Aircrew Survival Equipmentman 1st Class Sherry Stevens from Hope, Arkansas, assigned to aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, takes a break to pet a llama during a First Class Petty Officer Association sponsored outing April 18 at Stillpointe Llama Sanctuary in Seabeck. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher Jahnke photo)

Aircrew Survival Equipmentman 1st Class Sherry Stevens from Hope, Arkansas, assigned to aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, takes a break to pet a llama during a First Class Petty Officer Association sponsored outing April 18 at Stillpointe Llama Sanctuary in Seabeck. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher Jahnke photo)

Nimitz sailors lend a helping hand to Seabeck llamas

Crew members from the Bremerton-docked aircraft carrier assist animal sanctuary’s rehab efforts.

By CHRISTOPHER JAHNKE

USS Nimitz — MASS COMMUNICATION SPECIALIST 3RD CLASS

SEABECK — Pine trees surround the metal fencing at Stillpointe Llama Sanctuary while a brisk breeze rustles the branches in rural Seabeck. In the distance, a rooster crows and a sheep meanders on the path leading to the llama pens at the sanctuary.

An old shack on the property, still as sturdy as the day it was built, is patiently waiting to be taken down.

Stillpointe, which cares for neglected, abused and discarded llamas and alpaca for the rest of their lives, is itself in need of some love and care. That’s where volunteers from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, now docked at its Bremerton homeport, came to the rescue during a First Class Petty Officer Association (FCPOA) event on April 18.

These Nimitz sailors removed their uniforms and donned hoodies, jeans and boots, then spent the day helping some animals in need.

“The [association] is here with sailors from Nimitz to give back to the community,” said Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class Charles Gimiro of Dubuque, Iowa.

“We are making the area safer for these llamas and alpacas in order to assist Stillpointe with their rehabilitation effort. The sailors will be picking up branches and debris, tearing down an old shack and putting in fencing for a new llama pen.”

The sailors who traveled to Stillpointe didn’t have an all-work, no-play day. They interacted and learned about the animals residing there.

“I never would’ve thought I would be helping llamas out during my time in the Navy,” said Aviation Electronics Technician Airman Joshua Garlitz of Southgate, Michigan.

“It’s such a great experience being able to give back to the local area. We made a difference for the animals who live here and helped lighten the load on Chela [Grey, president of the sanctuary] and those who work at Stillpointe.”

Organizations like the Nimitz FCPOA can be an effective way for sailors to get involved in community service.

“I was excited to get to work,” Garlitz said. “I saw the llamas and instantly I wanted to pet one.

“The coolest thing is they let you interact with the animals, and I was able to walk a llama to its new pen. That really made it a special day, so I would tell other sailors to get out and volunteer.”

Giving back to the community is one of the ways Nimitz strengthens its ties to the Kitsap County community.

“The work they did today will mean Stillpointe won’t need to rent out the smaller farm and can save $500 a month,” Grey said.

”I’m thankful for the Nimitz sailors for bringing the extra muscle to take care of the more challenging tasks.”

Crew members from Nimitz have been able to get out into the community more often since returning in December from deployment. The FCPOA, in particular, is focused on getting more sailors out and volunteering.

“I think it’s important to get sailors involved with helping the local area,” Gimiro said.

“Our kids go to the same schools, we shop at the same stores and we’re all apart of the community.

“Nimitz is a vital asset to the area, and we will continue with volunteering efforts.”

Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class Charles Gimiro from Dubuque, Iowa, and Aviation Electronics Technician 3rd Class Jerome Brown from Adrian, Michigan, both assigned to USS Nimitz, check out a llama at the sanctuary in Seabeck. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher Jahnke photo)

Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class Charles Gimiro from Dubuque, Iowa, and Aviation Electronics Technician 3rd Class Jerome Brown from Adrian, Michigan, both assigned to USS Nimitz, check out a llama at the sanctuary in Seabeck. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher Jahnke photo)

Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class Charles Gimiro removes an air conditioning unit during the First Class Petty Officer Association outing April 18 at Stillpointe Llama Sanctuary in Seabeck.

Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class Charles Gimiro removes an air conditioning unit during the First Class Petty Officer Association outing April 18 at Stillpointe Llama Sanctuary in Seabeck.

More in News

Kiwanis honors eight SK Students of the Month

Port Orchard chapter recognizes high school and middle school students at luncheon

Woodstove ashes spark Monday night blaze

Avoid similar incidents with safe disposal of ashes

Poulsbo approves surplus goods, ILA and lease for cell tower

Multiple items on the Poulsbo City Council’s consent agenda were approved by… Continue reading

Family, public respond to footage from fatal police shooting

On Nov. 12 the North Kitsap Herald received another release of documents… Continue reading

City of Bremerton mulls zoning changes to allow homeless encampments

Recent data indicates 58 percent of the county’s unsheltered population is in Bremerton

City of Bremerton assistant attorney charged with third-degree assault and DUI

Casey C. Pence allegedly kicked a state trooper after having a BAC of .224

Investigators release body camera footage from July 3 shooting

On Tuesday investigators with the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office released body camera… Continue reading

Santa’s on his way to Port Orchard!

Jolly Old St. Nick to hand out treats to good boys and girls

Toys for Tots drop-off is in Port Orchard

Edward Jones office is taking unwrapped gifts

Most Read