Newsmakers: Navy Week sails to Toledo for first timeWritten by Matt Liasse | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Before 2012, there hadn’t been U.S. Navy ships in the Great Lakes since 1999.
That streak was broken when the USS De Wert and USS Hurricane sailed to the area for Navy Week. Also visiting were the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mobile Bay, the Royal Canadian Navy’s HMCS Ville de Québec and the historic U.S. Brig Niagara, a replica of the War of 1812 flagship. The ships arrived Aug. 23 and stayed four days.
The weeklong event, starting Aug. 20, went hand-in-hand with the bicentennial of the War of 1812, an “overarching theme of most Navy events” this year, said Navy Week Program Manager Lt. Cmdr. Pamela Bou in an email.
Toledo was one of nine cities that celebrated the bicentennial; the others were New Orleans, Baltimore, Boston, Milwaukee, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit and Buffalo, N.Y.
It was the first time Navy Week paid a visit to Toledo. Out of the 15 cities, it was the only new location, Bou said.
The week included free ship tours, musical performances and more. Sailors helped local community groups including Cherry Street Mission, Toledo Ability Center, Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity, St. Paul’s Community Center, Ronald McDonald House and the Special Olympics. They also discussed the importance of science, technology, engineering and math at Imagination Station and paid visits to patients at ProMedica Toledo Children’s Hospital and Mercy St. Vincent Children’s Hospital.
Navy Week is a time for sailors to show Americans what they do, Bou said. The Toledo event drew in 21,000 people, she said.
“Because the Navy is forward deployed around the world, Americans rarely see how important it is to have a strong, flexible Navy,” Bou said. “The Navy is extremely relevant to national security and protecting the American way of life.”
A return engagement is already in the works, with a senior Navy leader planning to visit Toledo in 2013 as part of the Navy’s 50/50 Program, Bou said.