The following article and photos by Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa were published January 9 by Marianas Variety and are republished here with permission. The USNS Montford Point and M/V Capt. David I. Lyon are manned in all licensed positions by members of American Maritime Officers and in all unlicensed positions by the Seafarers International Union.
The USNS Montford Point, the M/V Capt. David I. Lyon, Ambyth Shipping and Trading Inc. and Seafix Inc. have donated $4,100 for the children served by Guma Esperansa Women's Shelter and Karidat.
Bosun Kenneth Steiner of the USNS Montford Point said it is never too late to bring happiness to some 100 children on Saipan.
Steiner said the crew of the USNS Montford Point and the crew of the M/V Capt. David I. Lyon, headed by his brother, Capt. David Steiner, contributed cash for the children of Saipan and also helped wrap gifts for them.
The crews of the two ships donated a total of $3,100 to Guma Esperansa on Saturday night at VFW Post 3457.
The cash was presented to Guma Esperansa director Lauri Ogumoro, Sr. Stella Mangona of Good Shepherd Services and Junnie Masga, current education services coordinator with the Division of Youth Services.
Bosun Kenneth Steiner said they were supposed to give the gifts on Christmas, but there were some schedule problems.
"It's never too late to do this and to show love for our children. This has been a tradition which started in 2006 and we want to continue that tradition," he said.
Capt. David Steiner said: "This is our ship's first donation, but we stand on the foundation built before, which has been a tradition that started in 2006. It feels good to share love with the people of Saipan especially with the children."
Sr. Stella Mangona said she was deeply touched by the generosity of the crewmembers.
"It's not the first time, and these gifts are for the children of Guma Esperansa, Karidat and the Division of Youth Services, so all of them will receive special gifts, and that's why my feeling right now is a feeling of thanksgiving - they are giving so much from their hearts, the generosity is overflowing and I am really touched by their gesture."
According to Ogumoro, "We are really blessed every year by the generosity of these men. Their love for their families translates to the love for the children here on Saipan. This is a tradition that they started in 2006 and they have kept that tradition alive every year since, and that's why we are so blessed."
Also on Saturday evening, Ambyth Shipping and Trading Inc., represented by Teresa Gotti, manager for special projects, and its sister company Seafix Inc., represented by general manager Mark Blackburn, donated $500 each to Guma Esperansa.