Sailors play Yahtzee with a veteran at the Washington Veterans Retirement home, Nov. 11. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Lauryn Cooper/ Released)

Story by MC3 Eboni Cameron

PORT ORCHARD, Wash. – Veterans Day was a day off for the crew of USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), and four Sailors thought about someone else besides getting their free meal at the local mall.

Four Stennis Sailors played board games and shared sea stories with residents at Washington Veterans Retirement Home Nov. 11.

“It’s a huge honor for me to be here on Veterans Day because I’m third generation Navy,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuels) Airman Apprentice Joseph Hodge, who visits the retirement home almost every Thursday.

Hodge and his shipmates from Air Department pay regular visits to the home throughout the year, but a visit on Veterans Day made it more than just a routine thing.

“It’s special for me to come down and celebrate with these veterans,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuels) Airman James Hiatt. “I think it’s important to show them we are appreciative.”

Some of the residents said they too appreciated the visit.

“I am very grateful to have such nice young Sailors take time to come visit old salts like us,” said resident and former Navy Yeoman Cameron Cook, who served during the Vietnam War. “I am proud to be a veteran, and I am proud to have served my country.”

By taking time out of their own liberty and thinking of others, Sailors helped remind veterans that their past service is appreciated and honored.