As the final rotation of Project HOPE volunteers sailed aboard the USNS Mercy in transit to Sihanoukville, Cambodia, the team rallied their volunteer spirit, helping out in the massive hospital ship’s kitchen, serving food to the crew and even cleaning up afterwards.
Faye Pyles, a six-time Project HOPE volunteer from Virginia Beach, Virginia, is serving as the HOPE’s Operation Officer and Chief Nursing Officer on the mission. Pyles organized the event as a team building exercise.
A retired Navy nurse, Pyles appreciates the behind the scenes work that supports the large-scale Pacific Partnership medical mission. Busy washing food trays, Pyles said, "We are helping out in the kitchen and the scullery because many of these young men and woman have been working hard for months, since San Diego, in 100 degree heat, to keep us fed. When offered the opportunity, we jumped on the chance to help these hard working sailors."
Dr. Elizabeth Neuzil, a first-time Project HOPE volunteer from Monroe, Washington, may not have known her medical mission would include kitchen duty, but she enthusiastically got to work, cleaning tables in the busy ship mess hall.
"It been great teamwork, and this has been a great way to learn new faces," said Dr. Neuzil. "I wanted to get a feel about the different roles and positions on the ship."
Dr. Lynn Bemiller a four-time HOPE volunteer from San Diego, California, joined other HOPE volunteers in serving the evening meal in the food line.
"We are severing steak and lobster today in the chow line. This has been a great experience and a wonderful way to give back to the ship," said Dr. Bemiller.
The volunteers will be leaving their kitchen duty soon to begin care and health education in Cambodia.
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