Sailors add muscle to Bena shoreline project

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Jun 15, 2011 - 03:17 PM

Photo: Petty Officer First Class Jorge Gonzalez of the USS Harry S. Truman takes the lead on a bucket brigade of oyster bags as he hands off a bag to Airman Juan Johnson, while Petty Officer First Class Felicia Jones, back to camera, prepares to pass a bag to CBF volunteer Krista Sweet on Monday at the home of Charles Hogge of Bena. Navy personnel from the Norfolk-based aircraft carrier were volunteering with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation on a shoreline erosion project at Hogge’s house. Photo by Sherry Hamilton.

Petty Officer First Class Jorge Gonzalez of the USS Harry S. Truman takes the lead on a bucket brigade of oyster bags as he hands off a bag to Airman Juan Johnson, while Petty Officer First Class Felicia Jones, back to camera, prepares to pass a bag to CBF volunteer Krista Sweet on Monday at the home of Charles Hogge of Bena. Navy personnel from the Norfolk-based aircraft carrier were volunteering with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation on a shoreline erosion project at Hogge’s house. Photo by Sherry Hamilton.

Photo: Charles Hogge of Bena, was glad to have volunteer help with his one-of-a-kind shoreline restoration project on Monday. Navy personnel with the USS Harry S. Truman, in cooperation with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, spent their day off building an offshore breakwater out of bags of oyster shells at his home on Sarah’s Creek. Photo by Sherry Hamilton.

Charles Hogge of Bena, was glad to have volunteer help with his one-of-a-kind shoreline restoration project on Monday. Navy personnel with the USS Harry S. Truman, in cooperation with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, spent their day off building an offshore breakwater out of bags of oyster shells at his home on Sarah’s Creek. Photo by Sherry Hamilton.

A gang of Navy volunteers showed up in Bena Monday morning—on their day off—to give the Chesapeake Bay Foundation a hand with a unique shoreline restoration and reef building project.

About two dozen sailors and officers formed a bucket brigade to move hundreds of bags of oyster shells from the shoreline into the waters of Sarah’s Creek to build an offshore breakwater/oyster reef along shoreline owned by Charles Hogge of Bena.

The project was designed by Gloucester resident and wetlands board member Walter Priest, who works for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and coordinated by CBF’s oyster restoration and fisheries scientist Tommy Leggett, his assistant, Jackie Harmon, and summer intern Krista Sweet.

Lt. Cmdr. Jon Still of the USS Harry S. Truman said his crew would normally have been on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier, spending a hot, sweaty, 14-hour day signaling aircraft to land, chocking and chaining planes, driving tractors, or standing by to perform crash and salvage duties. He himself would be in the ship’s tower, coordinating all flight and deck crew operations. But the Truman had a three-day weekend because of another ship’s deployment, and Still and some of his Norfolk-based crew decided to spend their day off volunteering in Gloucester.

"We do an amazing amount of community service," said Still. "And we love doing it."