By Scott Achelpohl
Deputy Editor, Seapower
The Richmond Council has continued its COVID-19 relief efforts beyond donating $1,000 to the New York Council for support of the city while it was the epicenter of the pandemic, said Harvey Lankford, president of the Richmond Council.
The first step was the council’s donation to their New York counterpart to support the personnel of the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) and its command center on shore.
The council’s second action was for their adopted ship USS Carter Hall at Joint Expeditionary Base-Little Creek-Fort Story, Virginia. Richmond Council board Member Pat Robson, the its liaison to the Carter Hall, worked with the ship’s chaplain to buy $1,300 in gift cards at the commissary there and distribute them to families in need. Several of the Carter Hall’s crew have since tested positive for COVID-19.
The council’s third outreach effort was to support Strike Fighter Squadron 213, the “Blacklions,” out of Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia. Lankford is the council’s liaison to VFA-213. After discussion with squadron leadership, $1,000 was donated in Richmond Council and VFA-213’s name to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS), a national organization that has a branch office at NAS Oceana.
The council’s fourth outreach was by board member Alan Palmer, liaison to USS Gravely in Norfolk. The ships’ executive officer reported that Sailors needed help with housing and food during their quarantine before boarding the ship, an expense not fully covered by the Navy. The council contributed $1,500.