News: NIOC Texas Volunteers Help Facilitate Foster Care Events
SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Mission Country Park II, a quaint green space nestled in between San Antonio's historic San Jose Mission and the famed River Walk, was the scene of the Texas Foster Care and Adoption Service's annual Spring Fest Celebration held in late April of this year.
More than 65 children, 40 foster parents, and over 30 Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC) Texas sailors participated in the event, meant to promote foster parenthood and child adoption in the local community.
One Sailor in particular was inspired to pull his teammates together.
"Every organization within the command helped out. We had the MWR, Junior Sailors Association, First Class Petty Officers Association, Chief Petty Officers Association, and Wardroom, all contribute." said Cryptologic Technician (Collections) 1st Class Clayton Adam, who planned the event and spearheaded the fundraising effort.
The NIOC Texas sailors who volunteered helped run the activities and raised over $3,000 to fund the free event and purchase prizes for a raffle. The many festivities for the children and their foster parents included lunch, an Easter egg hunt and coloring contest, a bounce house, potato sack race, face painting, and balloon animals.
When Adam originally reached out to the organization in November of last year for volunteer opportunities, he discovered they were having trouble finding sponsors for monetary donations and gifts for the roughly 70 children participating in their 2013 Holiday Party.
Adam brought the situation to the attention of the sailors of NIOC Texas and within two weeks, volunteers in the command raised over $700 for food and collected more than 70 toys for the event.
Helping children in foster care has long been a passion of Adam. In fact it's a subject that hits very close to home. Adam was raised by a foster family beginning at age 15.
"My mother died when I was 15 from lung cancer. After her death, my father entered my life for the first time and he turned out to be an abusive drunk. After a few phone calls from school teachers to the police I was put into foster care at the age of 15. I was in foster care for about 18 months. I had great social workers that I still maintain contact with and where at my wedding [earlier this month]," said Adam.
"Without my social workers and my foster family, my life could have turned out a lot different. I always wanted to find a way to give back," Adam went on to say.
The NIOC Texas leadership has been exceptionally supportive of CTR1 Adam's endeavors. The Commanding Officer, Capt. John Watkins; the Executive Officer, Cmdr. Michael Riggins; and the Command Master Chief, Master Chief James P. Barnes, have all expressed their excitement for the command's participation.
The Texas Foster Care and Adoption Service has also greatly appreciated the assistance they have received from the volunteers at the command. Adam, on behalf of the Texas Foster Care and Adoption Service, presented their "Five Star Excellence Award" to Capt. Watkins earlier this year.
This honor, which was awarded to the sailors of NIOC Texas, stands as acknowledgement of the hard work committed to help foster children in the community.
Adam does not believe Spring Fest is the end of NIOC Texas' support to foster children in the San Antonio area. Unused funds raised for Spring Fest are being allotted for the upcoming Back to School event in August, which will include a movie night on an inflatable projector screen, pizza, and new backpacks and school supplies for the children.
Adam is currently attempting to set up volunteer efforts as part of CPO365 to organize book readings for the children. Although he transfers next summer, Adam is confident NIOC Texas will continue the work he started.
"I'm sure this new found partnership will continue to blossom and I look forward to hearing about NIOC Texas sailors putting smiles on very deserving children's faces," said Adam.
NIOC Texas is a subordinate command of U.S. Fleet Cyber Command and comprises Task Force 1040 of the U.S. 10th Fleet.
For more news from Commander, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/FCCC10F/.