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    NSA Naples Enjoys a Taste of Hispanic Heritage



    Story by Alicia McNeely 

    U.S. Naval Support Activity Naples

    Naval Support Activity (NSA) Naples observed Hispanic Heritage Month on base and virtually, Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

    The Department of Defense annually celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month to honor service members who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico, Central America, South America and the Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean.

    Capt. James Stewart, NSA Naples commanding officer, introduced the month in his weekly Captain’s Corner column and noted the importance of diversity on base.

    “Onboard NSA Naples, our multiculturalism – our different backgrounds, experiences and skills – have created a community strengthened by diversity of thought and perspective,” he said.

    During this month-long celebration of multiculturalism, the Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) libraries arranged displays featuring books written by Hispanic authors, stories and bibliographies with Latino protagonists, and educational materials about Hispanic-American culture. Throughout a two-week span of the observance, NSA Naples community members checked out over 14 of these books. The readers’ responses were positive as they engaged with recommended literature and discovered new authors.

    “One person who read [Isabel] Allende's latest novel, ‘A Long Petal of the Sea,’ told me she likes her writing a lot because it is so descriptive, and her characters are so totally into the story that it captures the reader from start to finish,” said Ciro Giordano, supervisory librarian of the MWR libraries onboard NSA Naples.

    In addition to reading, library patrons were encouraged to fill out a quiz to learn a little about the history of Latin American countries and famous or historical figures with Hispanic heritage. Participants who answered all questions correctly received a new library book tote bag as a prize.

    “Considering a substantial number of books were checked out from the collection and displays, and some folks did actually turn in quizzes, I believe that we were able to garner a bit of interest and at least make our patrons aware of Hispanic writers and their outstanding contribution to world literature,” said Giordano.

    As well as individual, in-person participation at the libraries, NSA Naples also celebrated the heritage month virtually. American Forces Network (AFN) Naples radio interviewed three Sailors of Hispanic descent who shared their experiences and culture with the community.

    “We spoke about Salinas, Puerto Rico – which is where I spent some time growing up – and the culture of Puerto Rico,” said interviewee Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Joshua Montalvo, assigned to NSA Naples security department. “I wanted people to get to know Puerto Rico like how I know it.”

    Montalvo, who personally commemorated the month by eating traditional dishes, also noted the joy he finds in introducing his culture to others.
    “I love sharing my love for the food and music of Puerto Rico,” he said.

    Master-at-Arms 3rd Class Jose Suazocordero, assigned to NSA Naples security department, is from the Dominican Republic and enjoyed a similar part of the interview process.

    “I most enjoyed the fact that our community allowed me to speak and hear about the difference in culture,” said Suazocordero. “I was most excited to share the traditional foods and dances we do.”

    Latino cuisine was a common thread between each AFN interview and the Hispanic Heritage month social media campaign. The NSA Naples Facebook page posted a spotlight on a Sailor who grew up in the Dominican Republic, and followers were able to read about his favorite customs and meals.

    For a taste of these culinary traditions, the Facebook page also shared recipes that were submitted by community members with Latino roots, along with their childhood memories of cooking and dining with family. The recipes for Salvadoran “pupusas de chicarron” and Puerto Rican “arroz con gandules” were well received by the community with a plethora of likes, comments and shares.

    Thanks to social media engagement and the efforts of the MWR libraries and AFN Naples, community members successfully came together to commemorate the customs and achievements of Sailors and families with Hispanic heritage, while physically distancing. NSA Naples library patrons, radio listeners and Facebook followers were able to read, learn and eat their way through the month, celebrating diversity together on base and online.

    NSA Naples is an operational ashore base that enables U.S., allied, and partner nation forces to be where they are needed, when they are needed, to ensure security and stability in Europe, Africa, and Southwest Asia.

    For more news about NSA Naples and the Sailors who serve aboard the installation, please follow us on Instagram @NSANaples and Facebook at



    Date Taken: 10.21.2020
    Date Posted: 10.22.2020 03:30
    Story ID: 381465
    Location: NAPLES, IT 

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