Thursday, August 07, 2008

Submariners come home - to clean brush???

A press release from the city of Toledo:

August 7, 2008


Today, Toledo welcomes eight (8) USS Toledo Submariners for a hometown visit. These Navy men are generously volunteering to help our Parks division clear brush in downtown Toledo from Swan Creek. This is part of the City of Toledo’s efforts to clean up the Creek.

Visiting town are ET1 (ss) Robert P Smalley - Toledo native, as well as MM1 (ss, Shane R. Whitford, STS2 (ss), Aron M. Schwarts, EM2 (ss) Kurt M. Soucy, MM2 (ss) Brett R. Conklin, ET3 (ss) Mathew A. Vonburg, MMFN (ss) Johnathan L. Nguyen, and MMFN (ss) Robert D. Lathrop.

ET1 Smalley has aggressively worked to build a better relationship between the U.S.S. Toledo and the City of Toledo. They will be visiting Toledo until Sunday, August 10th.

The group will be working at Boeschenstein Park, located off Summit Street facing Owens Corning, along the Swan Creek.


Somehow, this seems so wrong to me. Considering my own familial connections to the Navy (Dad and brother both served) I'm so very proud of these men who have volunteered to help out our parks. Their offer is certainly indicative of the character embodied within our sailors.

At the same time, I'm appalled that the city accepted! When our military come home for visits, we should be celebrating them. We should be honoring them and paying tribute to the good work they're doing, and the sacrifices they and their families are making while they serve.

We should be thanking them in every possible way for keeping us safe - not putting them to work clearing brush along one of our creeks.

I'm also disturbed by the press release which focuses on what the city's getting from these fine young men while they're on break, without even a hint of appreciation for what they're giving the rest of the time.

If doing some sort of work is really what they wanted to do, I think I would have suggested contacting our local military support groups to see if any of our military families had needs they could address. Our military families need support year round for even minor things and we could have used their visit to highlight that fact and remind Toledoans that there are always ways we can support those who are keeping us safe.

Instead, U.S.S. Toledo sailors are doing work that our tax dollars should be paying for...

I'd sure love to hear your thoughts on this.


Tim Higgins said...


That these men who serve their country so ably should choose to spend their time away from such service in such labors speaks volumes for their character. Would that the same could be said of those shamelessly taking advantage of their dedication.

Maggie Thurber said...

Nicely said, Tim. Thanks!

navyvet said...

Love the Navy!

GraphicsGuy said...

After being cooped up in a tube only slightly longer than a football field, I'm sure they're happy to be 'out in the open' and have fresh air!

To Officers & crew of the USS Toledo - and to all military, past and present, THANK YOU!

Chuck Greer said...

Maggie, my Dad is a former Navy man, too. I have a great deal of respect for all of our service people (my son is in the U.S.C.G. right now). The whole fiasco with our U.S. Marines and the stupid handling of the training weekend by our "leadership" still irks me to this day. Now, we have the Navy "clearing brush"?!?! I agree, it would be much better if they were doing yard work for families of soldiers and sailors overseas in harm's way. The city should have seen to this. I hope the union files a grievance!

Carol said...

I'm glad these sailors are back on US ground, but it would be so much more appropriate to honor them with a break instead of using them as free labor.

Is this going to be another one of those things that we wind up paying city/county employees to do since there are non-union folks doing a union job?

Thank you to all the military servicepeople and their families. Your dedication and sacrifice are truly appreciated.

Kadim said...

I'm a little baffled as to why the Navymen volunteered in the first place. Why did they volunteer to do this in particular?

The main thought that comes to my mind is perhaps the Navy has decided that it needs to spruce up its image in some way, but I don't know why they'd come to that conclusion. (Though perhaps it's an recruiting-outreach event.)

If there is a more complex motive for the Navy to do this, then perhaps the city was not in a position to easily turn them down.

Maggie Thurber said...


My friend's son is at the Naval Academy and she explained that all branches of the military encourage their members to volunteer for community service, so this offer is not a surprise to her.

But I would think we could find something a bit more deserving of their generosity than clearing brush - something our city workers get paid to do. (Will this result in a union grievance being filed, thus costing us more money?)

Don't we have other needs in our community that such individuals could meet if they are intent on doing such community service?

Hooda Thunkit said...

Another botched, ham-handed attempt by "duh mayor" to make nice (and amends) with our military.

Military = 8

The Fink = (surprise) ZERO

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