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NEWS | Jan. 13, 2016

Topeka Sailors visit Association for Differently Abled Persons

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brian G. Reynolds, Submarine Group 7 Deputy Public Affairs Officer

OLONGAPO CITY, Philippines – Ten Sailors assigned to the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Topeka (SSN 754) participated in a community relations project at the Association for Differently Abled Persons Inc. (ADAP) Jan. 13 during their port visit to Subic Bay, Philippines.

ADAP works with children and young adult with disabilities and teaches them how to prevent their disability from being a hindrance to their future.

The purpose of the visit was to promote awareness of the work that the organization does.

"This was a great opportunity to interact with the community and learn of the issues they face," said Ensign Jason L. Herrera. "It was heartening to see how even with their modest means they had instilled in these children that their disability did not have to be a hindrance to their future and that they could be valued contributors to society. It’s a very moving message."

The Sailors had the opportunity to sit and communicate with the children via pencil and paper, due to the fact that most of the children were healing impaired. The children discussed hobbies, family and plans for the future.

"It was a fun and eye-opening experience to deal with people who have such struggles, yet such a positive attitude," said Machinist’s Mate 1st Class Jeff N. Hatleli. "It was challenging and rewarding communicating with the children and overall provided a neat insight into the lives of some of the local peoples."

ADAP runs entirely on donations and provides services free of charge to youths suffering from disabilities such as hearing impairment, muteness and mental disabilities.

U.S. Navy port visits represent an important opportunity to promote stability and security in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, demonstrate commitment to regional partners and foster growing relationships.

For more news from Commander, Submarine Group 7, visit